Gotabaya's "malice borne of intolerance" cause for incarceration, says Vithyatharan's petition

[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 May 2009, 16:27 GMT]
In a Fundamental Rights petition filed with the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka, Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, present editor of the newspapers Sudar Oli and Uthayan, states that he was "victimized as a result of the views and opinions expressed in some of his articles published in the aforesaid newspapers, Sudar Oli and Uthayan, " and adds that Gotabaya's "displeasure and intolerance" towards his articles that criticize the Government, and Gotabaya's "malice borne of intolerance," were reasons for his incarceration.

Vithyatharan's counsel, Ms T Gowry Shangari, lists in the FR petition, Gotabaya Rajapakse, brother of the President of Sri Lanka and secretary of Defense, Director of the Colombo Crimes Division, Sub-inspector of Police assigned to the Colombo Crimes Division, Spokesman for the Police Department, the Inspector General of Police, and the Attorney General of Sri Lanka, as the six respondents to the petition.

Sudar Oli editor Nadesapillai Vithyatharan
Sudar Oli editor Nadesapillai Vithyatharan
Noting that "[t]he International Federation of Journalists with the collaboration of five Journalists Associations in Sri Lanka honoured Uthayan with the Public Service and Tolerance Journalism Award on 24th October 2008 for Uthayan’s courageous service to the people amidst threats and pressures," the petition says, "the socio-political environment in Sri Lanka which has steadily deteriorated with regard to the respect for and the safety and protection of journalists and persons working in the media industry."

The petition states that on the 26th February 2009, six men, three in Police uniform and three in civilian clothing, arrived in a white van at a funeral parlour in Mount-Lavinia at which the Petitioner was paying his last respects to a recently deceased close relative.

The said six individuals including Police Officers thereafter restrained the Petitioner and forcibly put him into the said white van and abducted him in the presence of a number of eye witnesses including Eswarapatham Saravanapavan, the aforesaid Managing Director of Mass Media Syndicate Private Limited, the petition described the abduction.

"The Petitioner states that it was later discovered that his arrest was on account of a preposterous and unfounded allegation that he somehow “coordinated the LTTE air attack on Colombo on 20th February 2009” based on a suspicion arising out of a large number of telephone calls he had made on that particular day.

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The petition notes that "moments after the Petitioner’s arrest, the Gotabaya had stated in an interview intended for public viewing that the Petitioner is a “terrorist” and he had coordinated the LTTE air attack on Colombo on 20th February 2008.


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