Court seeks Interpol help to arrest exiled Sri Lankan journalist

A Sri Lanka court issued an international arrest warrant against a journalist in exile soon after he was threatened with Interpol action by the country's justice minister.

Gampaha Chief Magistrate Kavindya Nanayakkara on Friday issued the Interpol warrant against UK based 'Lankaenews' web publisher Sandaruwan Senadheera for contempt of court following a series of allegations filed by a ruling party politician.

Former Deputy Mayor of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council Madura Vithanage complained to court on Wednesday (23) that an allegedly defamatory series of articles against Sri Lanka judges was published on the 'Lankaenews' website and on its social media.

Few days before the Gampaha Magistrate issuing the Interpol warrant, in an angry outburst Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe told parliament that Interpol assistance will be sought to arrest Sandaruwan Senadheera for contempt of court.

Gampaha is also the electorate of Minister Rajapakshe.

The judge who issued the Interpol warrant has also being defamed by  Lankaenews claims the petitioner.

Critical of judiciary

A bitter critic of the judiciary, Lankaenews recently reported that a judge visited a politician in jail under a death sentence.

The judge Ayesha Abdeen has stepped down following the exposure.

The politician, Duminda Silva a close associate of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is in prison convicted of the murder of rival politician Bharatha Laxman Premachandra in 2011.

President Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya who appeared on behalf of Duminda Silva is also the attorney representing the petitioner Madura Vithanage.

Release of commanders

PC Warnakulasuriya had been earlier accused by ‘Lankaenews’ of misusing public funds when he was the Sri Lankan ambassador in Italy.

In October, Sri Lanka courts released military men accused of attacks against slain Sunday Leader Founder Editor Lasantha Wickremetunge and disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda following a public verbal attack on investigative bodies by the country’s president.

The release came after President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his strong displeasure and condemnation over ‘hauling’ military commanders who served in the war before court.

Lankaenews founder editor Sandaruwan Senadheera had to flee Sri Lanka in 2010 following a series of attacks including arson on his office during the deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.