Noyahr assault investigations likely to expose details on other attacks on journalists – Activists opine

Noyahr assault investigations likely to expose details on other attacks on journalists – Activists opine

By Staff Writer

Feb 22, 2017 | 9:04 am

Civil activists and media personnel believe that extensive investigations into the assault of journalist Keith Noyahr would expose the details on other attacks on the media, including the assassination of the late Lasantha Wickrematunge.

The five army officers who were arrested over the abduction and assault on Keith Noyahr were placed in remand custody until March 3.

The Sri Lanka Army announced that the soldiers had been interdicted on Monday, February 20.

On May 22,  2008 Journalist Keith Noyahr attached to The Nation newspaper was abducted by an armed group and was later released after being assaulted.

A major and four army personnel who were serving in a Military Intelligence Unit in the vicinity of the  Maradana area during that time period, were arrested.

Presenting facts before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court, police said it investigated many telephone conversations in relation to the incident.

Statements obtained from over 20 witnesses have also been submitted to court.

The Criminal Investigations Department informed court that before the abduction of Keith Noyahr ,the suspects were seen at the University of Colombo, a florist in Borella and a supermarket Complex in Wellawatte.

Detectives pointed out that those were locations visited by Keith Noyahr before his abduction.

After being abducted from close to his residence, Keith Noyahr had been taken to Dompe.

Investigations centering the evidence provided by Keith Noyahr had revealed that he was being held at a house obtained under the name of an individual who served under the soldiers who were arrested.

Investigations have also revealed that during the abduction period, the officer currently in remand, had made telephone calls to the senior-most ranks of the Military Intelligence Unit ,and those phone calls had pinged off the Communication Towers at the locations where Keith Noyahr was taken to and held against his will.

The five soldiers were arrested and thereafter placed in remand custody on charges of abduction, causing serious and minor injuries with the use of a weapon , unlawful detention and inflicting cruel punishments.

Activists reason that legal action must be taken disregarding positions and status in a bit to curtail such illegal acts, no matter the circumstance.

The Free Media Movement says that are there are facts to believe that the military officer in remand custody over the abduction of Keith Noyahr is also involved in the assassination of the late Lasantha Wickremetunge and the assault on Upali Tennakoon.

Issuing a statement, the movement has requested that just and immediate investigations be carried out on the assault and attacks on journalists as well as media institutions and the perpetrators be brought before the law.