The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the release of Chandana Sirimalwatte, editor of the opposition Sinhala newspaper Lanka, on February 16 after 18 days in detention without charge. Lanka is aligned with a political party that had strongly backed the rival candidate.
Sirimalwatte was taken into custody on January 29, two days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa was declared re-elected to a second term in office. According to IFJ sources, Sirimalwatte’s unconditional release was ordered by a magistrate’s court after the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Sri Lankan police failed to present charges against him.
The IFJ meanwhile continues to be concerned for the welfare of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a senior journalist and political commentator who has been missing since January 24.