|Saturday, 14 September 2002|
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontires)on Thursday called on the Sri Lankan government to swiftly investigate and punish those responsible for the harassment of a journalist who reported the alleged torture in custody of a woman by police officers in the north-western town of Wariyapola.
"The new government has substantially improved the press freedom situation, with fewer physical attacks on journalists and the abolition of the law on criminal defamation," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert M,nard in a letter to Interior Minister John Amaratunga. "But the impunity enjoyed by the police in the Wariyapola affair is a worrying step backwards."
The RSF said the harassment of journalist Nishanta Kumara, correspondent of Ravaya, began on 10 July 2002 when three men attacked him in a bus. They threatened him with a knife.
One of the men was about to stab him when the bus driver saw what was happening and stopped the bus, allowing the journalist to escape.
Mr Kumara continues to fear for his life as he has been followed every day since 19 August by two men on an unmarked red motor-cycle. "The journalist has filed two complaints with the inspector-general of police in Colombo, the police in Kurunegala and the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission, but no investigations appear to have been started to date," the RSF said.
Kumara's article reported the plight of a 39-year-old woman, Nandani Herat, who was allegedly tortured by police while she was being held for questioning at the police station in Wariyapola.
Produced by Lake House