Sri Lanka: another media worker interrogated by the policeEvent
- Sri Lanka
- Initial Date
- Nov 9, 2022
- Event Description
On 7 November 2022, police officers from the Welikada police station visited journalist and human rights defender Tharindu Uduwaragedara’s residence in Colombo. Police handed over a summons for the defender to appear at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Colombo 01 for interrogation on 8 November 2022. The defender was informed that the inquiry/interrogation is based on a complaint filed by the Inspector General of Police based on a Facebook post published by the defender on 17 October 2022. The post includes images of police officers using disproportionate force and disrupting peaceful protesters during a protest in Colombo on 9 October 2022. In his post the defender sought public assistance to identify and report officers who had behaved in an unruly, illegal and disruptive fashion towards peaceful protesters.
Tharindu Uduwaragedara is a well known journalist, human rights defender and convener of the Sri Lanka Young Journalists Association. He has been active in reporting and documenting the ongoing protests in Sri Lanka linked to the economic crisis, and exposing police abuse against peaceful protesters. He has been targeted on several occasions and summoned for interrogation repeatedly due to his journalism and human rights work.
Front Line Defenders condemns attempts to threaten and intimidate Tharindu Uduwaragedara by Sri Lanka police as reprisal for his work. We call on Sri Lankan authorities to cease persecution of journalists and human rights defenders engaging in their legitimate work and create an environment that protects human rights activists.
On 8 November 2022, human rights defender and journalist Tharindu Uduwaragedara was questioned by the Cyber Crimes Investigation Division (CCID) for nearly 3 hours at the Criminal Investigation Department in Colombo.
The CCID officer told the human rights defender that he was summoned to record a statement based on a complaint lodged by the Inspector General of Police on 27 October 2022 regarding a Facebook post. The post includes images of police officers using disproportionate force and disrupting peaceful protesters during a protest in Colombo on 9 October 2022. The officer asked the human rights defender for personal details, information on the revenue made through his YouTube Channel, more specifically about the Sri Lanka Young Journalist Association and their activities. The officer also questioned the intention behind Tharindu Uduwaragedara’s Facebook post and mentioned that it may pose a threat to the safety of the police officers that were identified in the post. Tharindu Uduwaragedara responded by saying that it was his journalistic duty to point out the unruly behavior of the police officers towards peaceful demonstrators, and that there were no ulterior motive behind his post. He also pointed out the statements issued by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), where it has been stated that the Police Ordinance should not be used to violate the Constitution’s fundamental rights. The human rights defender was not informed of further proceedings in the investigation against him.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Summary for Publications
On 9 November 2022, Tharindu Uduwaragedara, media worker, was inerrogated for hours by the police, the day after being summoned, in connection to a social media post he shared showing police use of excessive force during the nationwide protests in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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