Police probe photojournalist attack | Sunday Observer

Police probe photojournalist attack

12 July, 2020


A police team yesterday launched an investigation on an incident where a photojournalist was manhandled and obstructed from carrying out his professional duties by a police officer at the Colombo High Court Complex on Friday, a senior officer of the Sri Lanka Police said.

The incident occurred on Friday (10) when the police officer identified as the former OIC of the Police Narcotics Bureau, IP Neomal Rangajeewa arrived at the Colombo High Court. Video footage from the incident showed Rangajeewa manhandling a photojournalist and dragging him to the police post in the court premises. Inspector Rangajeewa is the main suspect in the Welikada prison massacre case.

Director General of the Government Information Department, Nalaka Kaluwewa called upon the Acting Inspector General of Police to conduct a comprehensive and impartial investigation on the incident where the photojournalist was obstructed from carrying out his professional duties by a police officer at the Colombo High Courts complex.

Kaluwewa had written to the Acting IGP C.D Wickramaratne, that the photojournalist who faced the incident had a valid media accreditation by the Department of Government Information. “It notes that it is the responsibility of all to give the opportunity and support any journalist holding this accreditation to carry out his legal professional duties.” Kaluwewa said the professional opportunities provided by the accreditation have been grossly violated as a result.

The photojournalist also filed a complaint at the Colombo High Court Police post against IP Neomal Rangajeewa for manhandling him in the premises. The photojournalist, Akila Jayawardena had said that he had been at the court premises to cover the proceeding of an ongoing court case.

He said he had been taking photographs when IP Neomal Rangajeewa had suddenly grabbed and dragged him to the court’s police post and attempted to assault him. The complainant also said that IP Rangajeewa had taken two memory chips from his camera.