Remanded journalist in court tomorrow: Magistrate orders report
Police and lawyers differ on claims of assault injuries to journalist
By Yumiko Perera
Journalist Malika Abeykoon who was arrested on Wednesday (7) for allegedly obstructing police duty while covering a health workers’ protest in Colombo and was subsequently remanded, is to be produced before court tomorrow (12) amidst contestation of the medical evidence pertaining to the assault of the former.
When he was produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate on Thursday (8), the Police had submitted a medical report certified by a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) to the court which stated that the journalist had not sustained any injuries.
Speaking with The Sunday Morning regarding the incident that led to Abeykoon’s arrest, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) of the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon claimed: “The Police had been ordered to arrest Ven. Tampitiye Sugathananda Thera. However, Abeykoon had intervened and obstructed the Police from carrying out that order. Therefore, he was arrested on the basis of the obstruction of duty.”
Further, SDIG Tennakoon noted that when Abeykoon had subsequently been produced before court on Thursday, the Police had also produced to court a medical report signed by a JMO, which had stated that he had not been assaulted, and neither had he sustained any injuries.
However, contesting the said medical evidence presented by the Police and the JMO in question, Abeykoon’s lawyers had challenged the medical report in court, stating that it was false, as there was clear evidence to the contrary.
Speaking with The Sunday Morning, Frontline Socialist Party Convener Duminda Nagamuwa, who was also protesting on the day when Abeykoon was arrested, claimed: “He was attacked while he was being taken to the police station after being arrested.”
Attorney-at-Law Rivihara Pinnaduwa, appearing on behalf of Abeykoon, speaking with The Sunday Morning, said: “We challenged the medical report in Court on 8 April because there was clear evidence that he was indeed assaulted. The Magistrate then ordered that another medical report be produced after consulting a doctor in the prison hospital.”
Abeykoon was however denied bail on Thursday.