Sri Lanka: media worker abducted, torturedEvent
- Sri Lanka
- Initial Date
- Mar 10, 2021
- Event Description
The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) and the Mirigama Police are investigating the alleged abduction and torture of Siyarata News website Journalist Sujeewa Gamage, The Morning learnt.
Speaking to The Morning, Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ajith Rohana said that further investigations have already been commenced by the CCD and the Mirigama Police.
Also speaking to The Morning yesterday (16), Gamage said that he had been conducting investigations on jihad and that this may have convinced the abductors to abduct and question him.
Gamage was allegedly abducted and tortured for information on his sources and political contacts on 10 March.
“I normally take a train from the Mirigama Railway Station to come to Colombo. On 10 March, I was near the Station when a person from a black Montero model jeep asked me to come towards the jeep. When I reached the jeep, they dragged me inside and covered my face with a black garbage bag. After about 40 minutes, the vehicle stopped at a place and they then took me into a room where I was unmasked. There were around four persons in the room wearing denims. They seemed to be like trained members of a VIP security detail. They demanded to know the truth. ‘Don’t lie, we need the truth,’ they said. I then said that I would reveal what I know. Then they threatened me and said that they would kill my wife and child if I did not give information.”
He went on to say that he was questioned about several political and non-political individuals.
“I was questioned about Arun Siddharth, the youth who launched a people’s march on 28 February from Point Dondra in Matara to Jaffna to unify Tamils and Sinhalese to fight against external forces driven by geopolitics and neoliberal strategies, who, according to the abductors, frequented former Parliamentarian Chathura Senaratne’s office in Thimbirigasyaya. I was questioned on whether Senaratne was being funded by the Tamil and Muslim communities. When I said that I didn’t know anything about this, they kept a heated knife on my hand. They also asked about the funding for a particular newspaper and former Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya’s involvement in it. They questioned me about a data storage chip related to an interview about the wife of one of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers, Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah Jasmine. The interview was stored in that chip which was kept in my home. I think they might have found it and taken it as after 45 minutes, I heard them receive a call where they said: ‘Okay, we got what we wanted, we can release him.’ I was then brought to Dematagoda with my face covered and dropped close to the Railway Station. I was shocked and at that moment, my only thought was to go to Senaratne’s office. His father, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, came and advised me to get admitted to the National Hospital’s Accident Ward. I suffered several injuries and am still awaiting the final medical report.”
He explained that he had started his career in journalism in the 1980s and that most politicians are known to him.
“Not just Jayasuriya or Senaratne,” he said.
Gamage, who previously worked for newspapers such as Janadina, Janasathiya, Yukthiya, and Aththa said that in his career, he had risked his life to reveal the truth.
Attempts to contact Chathura Senaratne and Dr. Rajitha Senaratne proved futile.
Meanwhile, Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Dr. Harsha de Silva had also raised concerns regarding the alleged abduction via a Tweet.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Intimidation and Threats
- Violence (physical)
- Wounds and Injuries
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to privacy
- Media Worker
- Suspected state
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 10 March 2021, Sujeewa Gamage, media worker, was abducted and tortured to extort information, and his belongings seized from his house in relation to ongoing investigative work he is conducting by alleged state actors in Mirigama, Sri Lanka.