Sri Lanka judge raps police in probe of unruly minister

Dec 28, 2007 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan judge reprimanded police Friday for failing to thoroughly investigate a minister who sparked a riot at the state-run television channel after allegedly assaulting a journalist. Colombo Chief Magistrate Mohamed Macky said he was not happy with a police report into Thursday’s alleged assault by Labour Minister Mervin Silva of a news editor.

Silva was rescued by commandos after being seized and pushed into an office by angry journalists in a drama played out live on nationwide television.

“If I approve the report filed by the police, people will stone us,” the judge said, warning police to be impartial and probe the case fully without taking the side of the minister.

He asked the police to properly investigate the incident and report back on January 11.

Footage broadcast live over the state television channel showed army officers and police escorting Silva out of the Rupavahini television station where he and his bodyguards allegedly beat up the news editor.

Silva was forced to apologise to the staff in the presence of an army of cameramen and press photographers on Thursday.

Dozens of journalists working for the state media held a demonstration outs