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UK Urged to Press Sri Lanka on Media Freedom Super-Urgent Action: Protest TODAY for press freedom in Sri Lanka

(OneWorld.net) Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama arrived in London today (5 March) in preparation for meetings with two UK cabinet ministers.

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(OneWorld.net) Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama arrived in London today (5 March) in preparation for meetings with two UK cabinet ministers.

The meeting takes place tomorrow at a time of huge crackdown in Sri Lanka, the latest manifestation being arrest of the director and a journalist from the Mawbima newspaper.

Please take time to send a message TODAY that in their meetings MARGARET BECKET & HILARY BENN demand the immediate release Mr. Dushantha Basnayake and Ms. Paremeswari Munusamy, respect press freedom and human rights.

The following appeal has been issued last night by the International Human Rights Association – Bremen, Germany

AN OPEN LETTER TO MARGARET BECKET & HILARY BENN

Sri Lankan government needs British cover to continue its brutal rule

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama sent to London

On 26 February, at 10pm Sri Lankan time, officers from the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) arrested Dushantha Basnayake a director of Standard Newspapers Private Limited (SNPL) in Colombo. Standard Newspapers. print the popular Sinhala weekly Mawbima (motherland), a newspaper that has been under severe attack from President Mahinda Rajapakse…

The mass circulation Sinhala language Mawbima newspaper had from its inception included critical material – which questioned the government policy with regard to human rights, corruption and the consequences arising from the government’s prosecution of the war in the north and east. The first action against the Mawbima was the arrest of a female Tamil journalist, Paremeswari Munusamy, who worked as a translator for the newspaper [and has been held] in detention for the last three months despite the fact that there have been no charges brought against her…

Just yesterday (3 March) two more blindfolded bodies were found in Marshy land in Kandana near to Colombo… As a response to severe criticism in Sri Lanka that the PTA is used to repress political dissent, the Sri Lanka Government’s Media Centre for National Security made a statement on 1 March that “the security forces .will continue to take into custody anyone, without regard to their profession or status and without regard to whether they are Sinhala, Tamil or Moslem, if it is deemed that they are a threat to the state”…

As the democratic space for opposition to the government in Sri Lanka is squeezed through the terror propagated by the government there have been growing voices internationally speaking out against it. Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists and many other organisations have raised the attacks on the Mawbima newspaper, giving hope to the democratic voices in Sri Lanka.

But, with the visit to Britain tomorrow, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister will be able to turn the tide and proclaim in the Sri Lankan press, just as he did after the German trip, that the British government will firmly support the Sri Lanka state in its “war against Terrorism” and that the power of the British state is on its side.

It is because of this we urge you all to immediately fax the British Foreign Minister Margaret Becket, and development Minister Hilary Benn and demand that when they meet the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister [on Tuesday 6 March] they get a commitment from him to immediately release Mr. Dushantha Basnayake and Ms. Paremeswari Munusamy of the Mawbima newspaper as a concrete step towards stopping all human rights violations against Sinhala and Tamil people.

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President orders investigations into Daham’s nightclub scandal

(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

A group allegedly led by Sirisena’s son Daham attacked Clique nightclub at Town Hall, Colombo last Friday (07), allegedly after they were denied entry to the nightclub around 2.00 am. A security guard was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital following the attack with head injuries.
However, speaking to Sri Lanka Mirror web site, police denied any connection of President’s son to the incident.
“He had arrived there around 7.00 pm, and it was a long time later that the clash took place,” Sri Lanka Mirror quoted the police.
In 2013, during the time his father was a minister, Daham Sirisena was accused of attacking a youth at Passikudah beach.

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Severe weather: over 200 families missing

(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

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(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

“16 bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued,” said military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera.

“The task is to figure out what happened to them,” the Red Cross said in a statement, noting that some people may have left after local officials warned earlier this week of possible landslides.

The Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported over 350,000 people were affected by floods and landslides caused by massive rains.

Meanwhile warning has been issued to several suburbs areas of capital Colombo due to the increasing water level or Kelani river. People living in Wellampitiya, Megoda Kolonnawa, Sedawatte, Kohilawatte and surrounding areas have been asked to move to a safe place.

The depression, named BOB 01 is currently moving towards South India; however rain will continue for several areas in Sri Lanka until the end of this week, weather specialists say.

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Sri Lanka's firebrand Buddhist monk arrested

(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

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(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

The General Secretary of extreme Buddhist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) surrendered to the court this morning (26) after magistrate ordered police to arrest the for alleged contempt of court. He was accused of making an argument with the judge during the court hearing of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda's habeas corpus.

Gnanasara has alleged that arresting the Army officers over Ekneligoda's disappearance was illegal and the prosecution should be arrested for “illegal arrests” of military officers. The counsel representing the missing journalist's family informed the court that the monk has also threatened the journalist's wife Sandhya.

Protesters, including a group of monks attempted to enter the court premises challenging the court's order to arrest their General Secretary and tried to block the prison vehicle. Police however managed to take Gnanasara to the remand prison with the support of extra police team.

Gnanasara and his BBS had been accused of inflaming religious tension between Majority Buddhists and Muslims. They were also accused of being a cat's paw of previous Rajapaksa regime. However BBS denied any secret relationship with Rajapaksa brothers.

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