3 Sri Lanka soldiers arrested for abducting journalist

AP News
Posted: Feb 18, 2017 2:30 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka police arrested an army officer and two soldiers over the abduction and assault on a prominent journalist nine years ago.

The suspects were arrested on Saturday morning and include a major and two soldiers. They are expected to appear before a judge, said police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody.

Their alleged victim, Keith Noyahr, was an associate editor of the English-language weekly The Nation who wrote critical stories about the civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels and the security situation. He was abducted after leaving office in 2008. Following the attack, Noyahr fled the country with his family, saying he feared for his life.

The abduction was one of the high profile attacks on journalists under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose nine-year tenure saw dozens of reporters killed, abducted and tortured, forced to disappear or flee the country. Scores more were killed or disappeared in the civil war that ended in 2009 with the defeat of the rebels.

Journalists and media rights group have been harshly criticizing Rajapaksa's regime for failing to conduct proper and impartial investigations on the attacks on journalists.

Police have begun fresh investigations into high-profile killings and attacks after Rajapaksa's successor, Maithripala Sirisena, was elected in 2015. Sirisena campaigned on a promise of ending a culture of impunity and punishing those responsible for abuses.