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Two arrested in Sri Lanka five years after journalist's disappearance

In this 8 February 2010 file photo, Sri Lankan media rights activists hold posters of Prageeth Eknaligoda during a protest in Colombo
In this 8 February 2010 file photo, Sri Lankan media rights activists hold posters of Prageeth Eknaligoda during a protest in Colombo

AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 10 August 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Free Media Movement (FMM) welcome the arrest of two former military officials over the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda. The IFJ and FMM urge the government to ensure the investigation is thoroughly completed and all those responsible are brought to justice.

On August 8, 2015 two former members of the military intelligence service were arrested over the disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda. According to reports, the pair confessed to the abduction of Prageeth and handing him over to an army camp in Girithale in North Central province on January 24, 2010.

The arrest comes after the investigation into Prageeth's disappearance was reopened by President Sirisena following his election in January 2015, and swiftly handed over to the crime investigation department. In May, President Sirisena said: "The new Government will revive all the suppressed cases and hold proper, impartial and justifiable investigations."

Seetha Ranjani, FMM Convener said: "FMM believes that this information is a great strength for the investigations to proceed and would like to commend the crime investigation department for opening up the case. Further FMM demands the crime investigation department to continue the investigation independent from the political, military or any other influence and bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible."

The IFJ said: "We strongly welcome the arrest of two suspects in the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda and commend the crime investigation department for their work on the case. While we welcome the arrests and developments in Prageeth's case, we also urge the government to ensure investigations continue into other media killings and attacks."

The IFJ added that the current government has the opportunity to ensure democratic governance and media freedom, and developments such as these arrests are an important part.

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