Why is no one responding to Sandun Jayasekera’s claim that Prageeth Ekneligoda is not a journalist?
Posted on March 15th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

A daily newspaper released an article Journalist tags Eknaligoda a fake” in late February 2016. The journalist making the allegation was Daily Mirror’s News Editor who said that in his 30 years of serving as a journalist he had never read a news item written by him, never seen him on a tv programme or seen him attend a press conference. He ends by asking how did ‘Prageeth Ekneligoda become a journalist”. It’s been some weeks now and what is strange is that none of those who were mourning for Prageeth the ‘journalist’ has come forward to answer this very valid question. It becomes all the more valid because not only is an entire country being ridiculed by foreign entities citing his disappearance under category of journalist, intelligence officers are under arrest for his supposed disappearance. Why have fellow media personnel put a brake on standing up for a fellow missing ‘journalist’? Is it because it is now emerging that he was never one?

Shouldn’t those that championed the movements and mourning for Prageeth Eknaligoda the ‘journalist’ now come forward to even challenge the Daily Mirror News Editor? This is what most readers expected to occur, but so far none of the local/foreign entities who were holding vigils, sending petitions and including his name in their public statements/reports have come forward to answer this question. In 2011 there was even a request for UN intervention to find Prageeth

If we go by the allegation made by the Daily Mirror News editor the all-important question is if Eknaligoda is not a journalist who is he? This leads to the next question who turned him into a journalist and why? If he is supposed to have ‘disappeared’ for a cartoon or an article he had written, can someone produce that and let us know how this was the cause for his ‘disappearance’ Rajapakse loved to see himself on cartoons and numerous exhibitions had been held inviting him to see cartoon impressions of him! http://archives.dailynews.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2012/02/20/fea03.asp

Then we come to the all-important UNHRC/OHCHR who is on record for using Prageeth’s name as a journalist to accuse the GOSL for the disappearance. On what grounds did UNHRC/OHCHR accept Prageeth as a journalist? This is a pertinent question that UNHRC/OHCHR is bound to official now answer.

On 7th March 2016 another article ‘Who is Prageeth Ekneligoda’ appeared. This article claims that 9 military intelligence officers are in remand over their alleged role in conspiring, abducting and killing Ekneligoda. The case has been so confusing that we need to wonder whether he was actually missing since January 2010.

https://www.ceylontoday.lk/90-120328-news-detail-who-is-prageeth-ekneligoda.html

An interesting part of this article refers to his wife as ‘legal wife’…aren’t wives legal? This legal wife the article says falls short of extending the allegation of abduction into murder. However, an article appearing in a website in August 2015 titled Prageeth’s Matale Mistress & Douglas Devananda’s Secretary to be questioned” makes the situation more confusing. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/prageeths-matale-mistress-and-douglas-devanandas-secretary-to-be-questioned-first-abduction-was-exactly-six-years-ago-today/

The March 2016 article claims that the CID has failed to establish whether Ekneligoda’s case was one of voluntary disappearance or not but that the CID investigators have concluded that ‘he has been murdered’. The article goes on to say the charges against the detained military personnel are conspiracy, abduction and murder. Hence, the main reason for this investigation to fail is that the investigators are trying to force the clues to meet their conclusion than let the clues lead them to the conclusion.”

The father’s woe over arrested son is certainly painful for anyone serving their nation. “My son,” attests Siriwardana, “was taken in on 24 August, 2015. When his wife went to the bank to collect his pay check for September only did she find that his pay was stopped. He has two children – 8 and 10. Though his wife is a school teacher, our legal fees are very high. Already we had spent over two and a half lakhs. Both my wife and I are retired teachers and between the two of us, our pension comes to about Rs 36,000/=. Even though my son joined the Army in 1992, and rose to the rank of Lt. Col., he has not earned anything. It is I who built him the small house that is behind ours for his salary was only just enough for his immediate expenses.” This is not how military officers should be treated.

Quite a lot of falsehoods have taken place some of which have even blown up in one’s face. The best one was the allegation of using chemical weapons by Prageeth’s legal wife. Unfortunately this allegation is virtually negated from the US diplomatic cable from Ambassador Blake on 19 April 2009 claiming that both ICRC and Indian High Commission confirmed that no evidence of chemical weapons usage was found. What should happen when false statements of this nature is made against the State & Military?  Chemical weapons aspect is covered in a 2011 article Disappearance Of Ekneligoda And The Chemical Weapons Saga” in which the author also asks Was he really a journalist or a poser?” So it looks like a lot of people have been silently asking if Prageeth was a ‘journalist’ and only a handful have come forward to ask the direct question.

prageeth

Made to Disappear” very interesting thought …..by whom is what we would like to know!

The article goes on to say that ‘P Ranjith & Prageeth Ekneligoda are one and the same” and also asks if the rest of the LTTE network taken in by military intelligence are still living, why would the then government only eliminate P Ranjith alias Prageeth Eknaligoda? Is it right to detail 9 military personnel without any concrete evidence against them, some for over 6 months without pay over what might not even amount to a crime”. There is even a tape recording floating around the social media that is quite shocking to say the least & further questions the integrity of this ‘missing’ character.

https://www.ceylontoday.lk/90-120328-news-detail-who-is-prageeth-ekneligoda.html

Well if the contention is that Prageeth is not a journalist why did Upul Jayasuriya donate all of his USD5000 through the President of Sri Lanka in a public ceremony to his ‘legal wife’ and the Finance Minister offer a scholarship to his son?

Let’s take a look at some of the entities mourning Prageeth

  • Free Media Movement – the first to claim Prageeth as a ‘missing journalist’ has yet to come forward and refute the allegation made by the Daily Mirror news editor.
  • Reporters Without Borders writes Prageeth, who regularly contributed to LankaeNews web site, went missing 24th January 2010. Prageeth is a political analyst and a cartoonist known for his outspoken views critical of the government of Sri Lanka.”  http://en.rsf.org/sri-lanka-where-is-prageeth-10-08-2010,38113.html
  • Cartoonists Rights Network International
  • Amnesty International
  • Committee to Protect Journalists, International Media Support, Reporters Without Borders, and the International Federation of Journalists all wrote for UN intervention citing journalists disappearance.
  • Scores of other international organization have used Prageeth’s name in their reports to internationally humiliate the country.

prageeth2

As citizens we find the efforts to embarrass Sri Lanka using a questionable ‘journalist’ an affront to our country’s good name.

With the case now in court it is left to the courts to deliver justice. In law there is something called ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ which is the standard evidence required to validate a criminal conviction.

People cannot be put in prison for political agendas. As per In dubio pro reo a defendant may not be convicted by the court when doubts about his/her guilt remain. The presumption of innocence also known as ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not the one who denies) based on this principle one is considered innocent unless proven guilty (not until).

In many nations presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused and it is that person’s international human right under UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 11. Thus, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution which is bound to collect and present enough COMPELLING evidence. The accused has to be proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt the accused must be acquitted.

In this instance should the Blackstone’s formulation apply it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.

What the public wants to know is where are the people who claimed this man was a journalist and why are they not coming out to produce evidence that he is a journalist following the allegation made by a journalist with over 30 years experience! More importantly where are the rights organization who claim their objective is to seek the TRUTH and why are they not demanding to know whether he was afterall a journalist since there are people suffering based on the premise he is a journalist.

As citizens we have every right to know the truth.

Shenali D Waduge

 

5 Responses to “Why is no one responding to Sandun Jayasekera’s claim that Prageeth Ekneligoda is not a journalist?”

  1. helaya Says:

    Senali,
    This guy is a LTTE stooge. He is living abroad with the patronage of LTTE. Someday he will appear by a miracle. Most probably he is in France, England or Norway. His wife is milking using his name.

  2. aravinda Says:

    He has drawn few cartoons. That might make him a journalist in eyes of some. He may make a suprise appearence in London, Paris or some other European city in few years time, after his disapperance is made to full use and we may hear some cock and bull story of what happened to him. Those, so called journalists who disappeared, did reappear after NGOs had made full use of these stories to destabilise and shame Sri Lanka.

  3. Dham Says:

    His wife said he had proof of our Army using cluster bombs. So, he is a “investigative journalist” working hard for LTTE. But as he was planning to bring down a plane ( whether MR is in there or not), he is actually a TERORRIST as defined by FBI. He must be at Guantanamo Bay camp.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DHAM !! IF HE IS AT GITMO, HE IS DOOMED. WILL NEVER RE-APPEAR.

  5. Dham Says:

    Lionel Bopage was not a terrorist but an insurgent. He is an Engineer but now fast becoming to be a journalist.
    Susantha is qualified to be a journalist too! But not the two types mentioned above.

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