Sandhya sends strong open letter to Gota | Sunday Observer

Sandhya sends strong open letter to Gota

Sandhya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda in a strongly worded open letter to Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week has said she will not let him destroy her resolve to seek truth and justice.

Sandhya’s decision to write to the former Secretary of Defence came following a pledge made by Rajapaksa at his maiden rally in Anuradhapura that he would acquit and release ‘war heroes’ being held on ‘baseless’ charges on the morning of November 17, after being elected as Sri Lanka’s President.

Sandhya Eknaligoda, whose husband Prageeth was abducted in January 2010, has spent the better part of the last nine years campaigning against enforced disappearances and trying to get the authorities to reveal his whereabouts.

She remains convinced that if the former Defence Secretary is elected on November 16, the investigation into her husband’s disappearance will be scrapped.

In her letter, Sandhya told the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate that she and her sons Harith and Sanjaya are on an unending struggle to find the truth as to what became of her husband and seek justice for his disappearance.

She noted that while no investigations were allowed into the her husband’s enforced disappearance during 2010 - 2015, following 2015 the Criminal Investigations Department in a B-report to courts revealed that Ekneligoda has been kept at an Army Camp in Giritale and then taken to Akkaraipattu by a team led by Military Intelligence Officer Shammi Kumararatna.

She also told Rajapaksa how these men have attempted to label her husband as a member of the LTTE or a sympathiser when reports from 10 agencies responsible for state security have confirmed Prageeth had no links to the organisation.

“They portray Prageeth who has never touched a weapon as a Tiger while they claim LTTE leader Karuna Amman who was responsible for murdering Bhikkhus in Aranthalawa is a patriot. It is a great irony that he has been likened to Keppetipola” she said.

While various people have reported the sighting of Ekneligoda abroad, despite denials by the authorities in these countries, Sandhya said how often people remark that her husband has been fed to sharks by a leader who was fond of having them as pets, in reference to Rajapaksa.

Referring to the assurance given by Gotabaya to release military men such as those responsible for her husband’s disappearance, Sandhya said hearing the statement filled her with fear and uncertainty.

“This was due to being consumed by thoughts if I should let you destroy the investigations and sacrifices I have made over the course of nine years while fighting for justice while been subjected to humiliation, insults and harassement” she said. “I will not let him destroy my resolve for truth and justice” she added.

Noting that the statement has violated the statutory right of herself and other victims and witnesses of crime that “the administration and enforcement of law and the protection of the law should be equitable.” Sandhya also posed a number of critical questions to Rajapaksa in her letter.

She questioned if he plans to provide immunity to all military personnel who have been found guilty and are now imprisoned, or only to certain officers chosen by him and if so on what basis will they be chosen.

“My husband’s case is in the process of having indictments being filed by the Attorney General while a special trial-at - bar is preparing to hear the case. Cases such as that of Prageeth are all in the initial court stages. Will they be awarded immunity the same day (November 17) after the victory hampering the judicial process of those cases?” she asked.

She also demanded to know if Duminda Silva, who was found guilty of the assassination of Bharatha Lakshman and Former Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Chandra Sampath who was found guilty in the Khurram Sheikh murder will be released as well.

“Therefore, within three days from today, I urge you to give clear answers to my queries” she had added. While the letter was dated November 5, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is yet to respond. -MB

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