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Journalists ordered to come to Army camp, residents refuse to go

| by Chris Kamalendran

( August 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Army Court of Inquiry investigating the August 1 Weliweriya attack has issued summons on the journalists who were at the scene to testify before it. The summons were first faxed and thereafter hand delivered by the Army to the journalists’ offices on Friday to come to the Commando Regiment at the Ganemulla camp at 9 a.m. yesterday. However three journalists on whom summons were issued did not go before the Court of Inquiry yesterday.

On Tuesday, Army officers visited the Weliweriya area and directed eyewitnesses to come to the Ganemulla camp to give statements related to the attack, but the residents had objected to the directive. A statement of the Catholic priest in the area was also recorded by the Army, but the villagers had objected saying that such statements should be recorded by civilian officials.

Residents complained to the Human Rights Commission which in turn contacted Army Commander Daya Ratnayake who later issued an order that the civilians could give their statements at any police station. Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasuriya said yesterday that he was not aware that summons had been issued on journalists.

Several journalists were attacked while they were covering the Weliweriya protest and the shooting incidents that followed on August 1. Some of the journalists had their cameras damaged.

Meanwhile the villagers have been informed by the Army to assemble at the Catholic church in Weliweriya today to record their statements. However St Anthony’s Church Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Laksiri Nonis said he had received instructions from the Cardinal not to get involved in the investigations. “If they try to use the church premises I will complain to the Cardinal,” he said.

Courtesy: The Sunday Times

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