Statement Against hounding journalist Kusal Perera

Statement Against hounding journalist Kusal Perera

17 June 2019 10:32 am

A group of social activists, including journalists, artists, human rights activists and lawyers, have issued a statement with regard to legal issues faced by journalist Kusal Perera.

According to the statement, titled ‘Statement against hounding journalist Kusal Perera’, it is alleged that Kusal Perera’s article on 17 May 2019 on developments after the Easter Sunday tragedy is being interpreted by a complainant as inflaming religious rivalry, therefore making him liable to be arrested under the ICCPR Act No.57 of 2007.

The statement further said: “Permitting this travesty would not only violate Kusal Perera's freedom of expression but it would also curb independent views and dialogue within the broader society too.”

Below is the full statement

Parakrama Niriella,
238A,
Rajagiriya Road,
RaJagiriya.

16th June, 2019

To all media institutions and all political leaders of Sri Lanka Freedom Party, United National Party, Sri Lanka People's Alliance, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Tamil National Alliance, Sri Lanka Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Party.

Statement Against hounding journalist Kusal Perera

We are reliably informed that the Organised Crime Division has petitioned the Colombo Magistrate Courts against journalist Kusal Perera who has written a political column in the Daily Mirror every Friday for many years. We also came to know that police officers had visited the Daily Mirror on Friday in this regard. It is alleged that his article on 17 May 2019 on developments after the Easter Sunday tragedy is being interpreted by a complainant as inflaming religious rivalry, therefore making him liable to be arrested under the ICCPR Act No.57 of 2007.

This is a very grave situation. Throughout his adult life, Kusal Perera has stood against all forms of racism and has written extensively against extremism and terrorism openly and fearlessly. He is internationally known for his very strong anti-racist stand. He is accepted by all as an independent political critic too. As far as we know, he is the only journalist who contributes to both mainstream Sinhala and English newspapers. He was a regular political writer for the Sunday Lakbima and was invited often by Lankadeepa to write their Thursday political analysis. International media too seek comments from him as an independent political commentator.

Therefore, it is clear that this is an attempt by someone or some group to silence Kusal Perera to serve their petty interests. Permitting this travesty would not only violate Kusal Perera's freedom of expression but it would also curb independent views and dialogue within the broader society too. This is an extremely dangerous precedent in the making.

We therefore urge all those concerned to immediately intervene in stopping all action initiated against Kusal Perera.

We request your kind cooperation to publish this news.

Thank you.
Submitted by,

Parakrama Niriella, Dramatist (0773175638)
Wijayananda Jayaweera, Former Director Communication UNESCO (0773625701)
Dr.Sunil Wijesiriwardena, Lecturer and Researcher (0718580074)
Prof. Arjuna Parakrama, Senior Professor, Centre for study of Human rights, University of Peradeniya (0777712264)
Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, Senior Lecturer (0718016200)
Prof.Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Professor, Dept of Sinhala, University of Peradeniya (0774141544)
Victor Ivan, Senior Journalist (0777394959)
Asoka Handagama, Film Director (0777229500)
Prasanna Vithanage, Film Director (0777288984)
Sudath Mahadivulwewa. Lecturer and Film Director (0767372779)
Vimukthi Jayasundara, Film Director (0777578432)
Ravindra Guruge, Film and TV Producer, Editor (0777728821)
M.Safeer, Dramatist (0773129749)
Anton Marcus, Trade Union Leader (0777281477)
Kumari Welagedara, Researcher and Social Activist (0773242105)
Selvaraj Leelawathy, Performing Artist (0711116658)
Rasaiah Logananthan, Performing Artist (0719373542)
Jeevanie Kariyawasam: Attorney-at-Law (0772181878)
Rathnasiri Paranavithana, Dramatist & Writer (0723308649)
Prof. Sasanka Perera - South Asian University, New Delhi (0711654476)
Thiyagaraja Waradas - Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo 0715153144)
Omar Rajarathnam - Communication Specialist
Vishnu Vasu – Musician (0772262267)
Philip Shantha - Journalist (0714419157)
Damith Chandimal - Social Activist (0712341311)
Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana
Aadhil Ali Sabry - Journalist (0719842732)
Kalpana Ambrose - Writer (0773441810)
Chameera Dewantha - Activist
Anushka Indrasiri - Foreign University Student
Pujika Rathnayake - Concerned Citizen (0717609136)
Chamal Polwattage - Writer
Ishan Jalil - Human Rights Activist (0777532381 )
Kaushalya Kumarasinghe - Writer
Asela Ekanayake - Banker (0766707970)
Sharni jayawardhana - Media Activist (0777393462)
Kelum Shivantha, Editor - Sri Lanka Mirror (0771446533)
Ashra Wickramathilaka - Researcher (0717889768)
Dr. Harini amarasiriya - Lecturer - Open University
Vidura Prabath Munasinghe (Attorney-at- Law) - Senior Researcher, Law & Society Trust
Sumudu Guruge - Freelance researcher/ Writer/ Composer/ Documentary filmmaker (0776140599)
Vinyya Ariyarathna - Medical Doctor (0773413724)
Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe - Editor, Praja.lk ( 0771229191)
Athula Pathirana - Director and Actor
Kanishka Guluwita - Urban Planner (Australia)
Maala Gabriel - Retired State Servant at UDA (0773456600)
Janaka Bandara - Fashion Designer (0772632477)
Dinushi Samarasekara - Architect
Deva Sanjeev - Digital Marketer (0776146295)
Anuradhi Perera - Independent Researcher (0716650231)
Paba Deshapriya - Social Activist
Priyanjan Suresh de Silva - Journalist
Malith Hegoda - Film Director
Malaka Dewapriya - Film Maker and Artist (0770778008)
Anusha Sivalingam - Writer
Kaushalya Herath - PhD Student (0769402993)
Saman Kariyakarawana - University Lecturer (0777151542)
Kavindya Tennakoon, Educator / MA Candidate, Stanford (0766693562)
Deanne Uyangoda - Attorney-at-Law (0773546624)
Subha Wijesiriwardena (0771708704)
Mohammed Infaz - Free Media Movement
Suchith Abeyewickreme - Concerned Citizen (0770859676)
Shanika Jayasekara -Journalist (18612978913)
Viduranga Tennakoon - Concerned Citizen (0775736926)
Sanjani Liyanage - Undergraduate, University of Moratuwa (0773311218)
Krishan Siriwardane - Media Researcher (0779968797)
Nirmani Liyanage - Senior Project Manager and Social Researcher (0778808887)
Asanka Senadeera - Researcher (0715168166)