Jun 17, 2019

Intellectuals stand up against Kusal Perera witch-hunt – Here are the signatures

Many intellectuals have demanded that the police action initiated against senior Journalist Kusal Perera under the International Charter on Civil and Political Rights be suspended.

Issuing a statement the group of intellectuals referred to this action by the police as an attempt to silence Kusal Perera over petty intentions of someone or some group. They state that this is not a mere attempt at silencing Kusal Perera and his right to express his views freely, it is an attempt at violating the freedom of expression of the general public.

The statement issued by them is shown below.

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 yesterday (Friday) in this regard. It is allegedthat 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 Lankadeepato 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 Pererato 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.

The list of intellectuals who signed the statement:

1. Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe - Editor,
2. Akhila Rangana – Engineer
3. Anton Marcus, Trade Union Leader
4. Anuradhi Perera - Independent Researcher
5. Anusha Sivalingam - Writer
6. Anushka Indrasiri – Concerned Citizen
7. Asanka Senadeera - Researcher
8. Asela Ekanayake – Banker/ Concerned Citizen
9. Ashra Wickramathilaka – Researcher/ Urban Planner
10. Asoka Handagama, Film Director
11. Athula Pathirana - Director and Actor
12. Chamal Polwattage – Writer/ Concerned Citizen
13. Chameera Dewantha Dedduwage – Concerned Citizen
14. Damith Chandimal - Social Activist
15. Deanne Uyangoda - Attorney-at-Law
16. Deva Sanjeev - Digital Marketer
17. Dinushi Samarasekara - Architect
18. Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana
19. Dr. Harini amarasiriya – Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka
20. Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, Senior Lecturer
21. Dr.Sunil Wijesiriwardena, Lecturer and Researcher
22. Hasini Artigala – Urban Planner
23. Ishan Jalil - Human Rights Activist
24. Janaka Bandara Ullandupitiya- Fashion Designer
25. Jeevanie Kariyawasam: Attorney-at-Law
26. K. Sanjeewa – Journalist
27. Kalpana Ambrose - Writer
28. Kanishka Guluwita - Urban Planner (Australia)
29. Kaushalya Herath - PhD Candidate/ Urban Planner
30. Kaushalya Kumarasinghe - Writer
31. Kavindya Tennekone - Educator / Masters degree candidate, Stanford
32. Kelum Shivantha, Editor of Sri Lanka Mirror
33. Krishan Siriwardane - Media Researcher
34. Kumari Welagedara, Researcher and Social Activist
35. Lalith Lankatilleke - Architect/ Planner/ Retired UN Professional
36. M.Safeer, Dramatist
37. Maala Gabriel - Retired State Servant 
38. Malaka Dewapriya - Film Maker/ Writer
39. Malith Hegoda - Film Director
40. Mathishani Dissanayake - Concerned Citizen
41. Mohammed Infaz - Free Media Movement
42. Nirmani Liyanage - Project Manager / Social Researcher
43. Niyanthini Kadiragamar- Scholar/ Concerned Citizen
44. Omar Rajarathnam - Communications Specialist
45. Paba Deshapriya - Social Activist
46. Parakrama Niriella, Dramatist
47. Philip Shantha - Journalist
48. Pradeep Dharmadasa, Director/ Actor
49. Prasanna Vithanage, Film Director
50. Priyanjan Suresh de Silva - Journalist
51. Prof. Sasanka Perera - South Asian University, New Delhi
52. Prof.Arjuna Parakrama, Senior Professor, Centre for study of Human rights, University of Peradeniya
53. Prof.Liyanage Amarakeerthi, Professor at Department of Sinhala, University of Peradeniya
54. Prof. Nihal Perera – Concerned Citizen
55. Pujika Rathnayake - Concerned Citizen
56. Rasaiah Logananthan, Performing Artist
57. Rathnasiri Paranavithana, Dramatist & Writer
58. Ravindra Guruge, Film and TV Producer, Editor
59. Ruvini Thalpawila – Writer
60. Saman Kariyakarawana - University Lecturer
61. Sanjani Liyanage – Undergraduate Student/ University of Moratuwa
62. Selvaraj Leelawathy, Performing Artist
63. Shanika Jayasekara -Journalist/ Concerned Citizen
64. Sharni jayawardhana - Documentary film maker/ Concerned Citizen
65. Shenu Perera – Writer
66. Subha Wijesiriwardena – Concerned Citizen
67. Suchith Abeyewickrama - Concerned Citizen
68. Sudaraka Arthnayake - Concerned Citizen
69. Sudath Mahadivulwewa. Lecturer and Film Director
70. Sulari Gunatilleke - Concerned Citizen
71. Sumudu Guruge - Freelance researcher / Writer / Composer / Documentary film maker
72. Theja Nanayakkara – Concerned Citizen
73. Thiyagaraja Waradas - Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo
74. Thuransha De Silva – Marketing Executive
75. Victor Ivan, Senior Journalist
76. Vidura Prabath Munasinghe (Attorney-at- Law) - Senior Researcher, Law & Society Trust
77. Viduranga Tennakoon – Landscape Architect/ Concerned Citizen
78. Vimukthi Jayasundara, Film Director
79. Vinya Ariyarathna - Medical Doctor
80. Vishnu Vasu – Musician/ Film Maker
81. Wijayananda Jayaweera, Former Director- Communication, UNESCO