Over 100.000 people have been abducted by Sri Lanka’s government forces in recent decades and never seen again. This is known as enforced disappearances.
Prageeth Eknaligoda’s case is emblematic of the enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. Prageeth Ekneligoda is a Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist who disappeared January 24th 2010 while returning home from work. At that time white vans were implicated in government abductions of journalists. A white van without plates was seen by neighbors the day of his disappearance.
When he did not come home his wife Sandya reported him missing but when she later checked the police station for news they claimed to have lost the original report. Her now over 10 year long efforts to find out what became of her husband have stalled in the courts without a conclusion. Witnesses in the military have been located and a few testified but there has been no action to prosecute by the court.
Two days before he was abducted, he had published an article critical of the President. Amnesty International believes that Prageeth was made a target for his outspoken criticism of the government and they report that “state agents” and paramilitary groups had abducted several journalists prior to Prageeth.
During these years, Prageeth’s wife Sandya Ekneligoda has become a leader to others seeking investigation of many disappeared in Sri Lanka. In 2020 some witnesses from the military were called to testify at a “Trial at Bar” ( 3 judge panel without jury) but this process was not completed. Throughout the process, both the CID (Civilian Court Criminal Investigation Division) and Sandya have received threats.
Sri Lanka must guarantee truth, justice and reparations to the family of Prageeth and all families whose loved ones have been forcibly disappeared. Amnesty International calls upon Sri Lanka to respect and fulfil their obligations under international law.
(1) Sign this petition for Prageeth: SIGN PETITION
(2) Write a letter to Sri Lanka’s government officials. How to write a letter for Prageet