Colombo diplomatic corps must act immediately to free ailing journalist

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA     Phone: (212) 465‑1004    
Fax: (212) 465‑9568     Web: www.cpj.org     E-Mail: info@cpj.org
http://www.cpj.orgBob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator
bdietz@cpj.org + 1 609 647 3075

New York, March 31, 2001—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the international diplomatic community in Colombo to help secure the release of Lanka eNews website News Editor Bennet Rupasinghe. According to colleagues in Colombo and international news reports, Rupasinghe was arrested by police after responding to a summons. He was called to give a statement about allegedly threatening a brother of a suspect who is in custody over the arson attack on the site’s office on January 31.
 
Rupasinghe’s case was carried over to April 7, according to the reports. The court said that due to his age he may be allowed to be held in a secure hospital. 
“Sri Lankan journalists are at the mercy of killers and kidnappers because the government has failed to meet its responsibility to protect them. This arrest cries out for immediate international support, and we call on diplomats in Colombo to pressure authorities to meet their obligations,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Not only has the office of Lanka eNews come under arson attack, but its editor is in exile and its cartoonist is missing–the threat to the safety of its remaining staff is clear.”