Family fears for missing Sri Lankan cartoonist – Focus

March 11, 2010 (AFP) – Six weeks ago Sri Lankan political writer and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda went missing, and his fate has raised further concerns about the island’s culture of violence against the media. Eknaligoda, who contributed to the pro-opposition Lankaenews.com website, did not return home after work on January 24, two days before the island’s presidential elections.

A police probe into his whereabouts has drawn a blank, and his family and friends believe he was abducted by government authorities who act against critics.

Eknaligoda was briefly detained, roughed up and freed by unknown assailants in August.

The family allege his current situation is linked to his support for defeated opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka.

“I believe high-ranking people within the government have abducted my husband for his writings and cartoons criticising President Mahinda Rajapakse,” Sandhya Eknaligoda, 47, told AFP.

The government has denied the allegations, though the police admit there were problems in investigating Eknaligoda’s disappearance as they were busy monitoring the presidential polls.

“There were some delays on our part to record the family’s statemen