Use of Sri Lanka anti-terror law against media condemned by rights body

February 28 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s use of anti-terror law against the media has been condemned by the Reporters without Borders (RSF) which called for the release of a media official arrested two days ago. RSF called for the release of Dushantha Basnayake, financial director of Standard Newspapers, which publishes the Sinhalese-language weekly Mawbima, who was arrested on the two days ago.

“The arrest of Dushantha Basnayake, who is close to a political adversary of President Mahinda Rajapakse, looks above all like retaliation,” RSF said in a statement.

“The fears of human rights organisations have unfortunately turned out to be well-founded: The anti-terror law is being misused to silence critics. We call on the Sri Lankan government to release Dushantha Basnayake,” it said.

Dushantha Basnayake, aged 40 and the father of two children, is Sinhalese. The weekly Mawbima has a reputation for criticising the government and for condemning human rights abuses and corruption in Sri Lanka, RSF said.

The newspaper is owned by close ally of former Sri Lanka foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera who was sacked from the government together with two others earlier in February.

“Officers of the