Activist and Journalist Under Pressure in Sri Lanka
02/15/2022 Sri Lanka (International Christian Concern) – A Catholic rights activist was arrested yesterday in Colombo. Shehan Malaka stood up for victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. A member of the archdiocese’s proclamation committee on the search for the truth of the Easter Sunday attack commended the activist’s efforts to seek answers and reconciliation for the 2019 terrorist atrocity. Recently, Malaka made a comment at a briefing regarding the Easter Sunday bombing that landed him in hot water with the authorities. Moments before his arrest, he took to social media and explained how he was going to be abducted for his comments. He was brought to the CID and the statement was recorded.
The same day as the activist’s arrest, the house of journalist Chamuditha Samarawickrama was attacked by a group of four masked men. The men were armed and allegedly threatened the security guard by holding a gun to his head. They threw stones and smeared the journalist’s house with human waste. The journalist had criticized the powerful ruling Rajapaksa family and their allies in recent broadcasts.
Cardinal Ranjith called the activist’s arrest and the attack on the journalist’s house a violation of their human rights. He reasoned today that the authorities are unable to make positive changes, so they try to silence those calling for justice. “The Attorney General, who could not implement the recommendations of the Easter Commission report, was apparently trying to arrest those seeking justice for the Easter attack.” Fed up with the unjust Sri Lankan system, Cardinal Ranjith will seek help from the Vatican. When it comes to effecting positive change, the Cardinal said that “action will be taken to find a solution through international organizations.”
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