Abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr : Three Army personnel arrested | Sunday Observer

Abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr : Three Army personnel arrested

The Three Sri Lanka Army personnel who were arrested in connection with the 2008 abduction, assault and false imprisonment of senior journalist Keith Noyahr have been remanded till March 3 after being produced before Mount Lavinia Acting Magistrate Rathna Gamage at her residence yesterday. According to the Criminal Investigation Department the suspects will also be produced for an identification parade on February 23.

Sources from the CID claimed that mobiles used by the trio and that of Keith Noyahr were traced to the Dompe area during the same time frame through mobile triangulation technology while also checking their Army camp records to determine the whereabouts of the suspects. According to the Police Media Unit the arrests of an Army Major and two Sergeants were carried out by a special team of officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The trio was brought in for questioning to the Criminal Investigations Department on Friday and was later arrested at the CID yesterday morning. Statements were recorded from the trio prior to being presented before Mount Lavinia Acting Magistrate later in the day. They have been charged with abduction of an individual, unlawful detention, assault, torture and intimidation using firearms.

While investigations into the incident had stalled during the previous government, officers of the CID had recently visited Noyahr in Australia to record a statement regarding the incident prior to these arrests.

As Police investigations commenced Noyahr returned to his residence the next day having been severely beaten and assaulted by his abductors for over seven hours before being set free. He later fled the country with his family following the incident fearing for his life.

Noyahr was known to write independent, often critical analyses of Sri Lanka’s security situation in his column ‘Military Matters’ under the pseudonym ‘Senpathi’. Releasing a statement following the incident the publishing company claimed the abduction followed a series of threats against Noyahr.

The sudden kidnapping of the editor had taken place following Noyahr’s May 11, 2008 column on the newspaper’s Web site is headlined “An army is not its commander’s private fiefdom.”

Though the Police set up three investigation teams the arrests have come after nine years into the incident despite protests and calls by journalists for severe action against the perpetrators. At the time the former Sri Lankan military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara denied that the security forces had any involvement in Noyahr’s abduction and assault.