New York) – The Sri Lankan authorities should stop targeting, intimidating, and harassing journalist and woman human rights defender, Dharisha Bastians, and her family. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Front Line Defenders condemn this assault on human rights and press freedom in Sri Lanka and call on the Sri Lanka Police to immediately stop the harassment and ensure Bastians’ safety.
Bastians is being targeted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in its investigation into what the Sri Lankan government maintains is a false claim of abduction by an employee of the Swiss Embassy. Swiss officials assert that the incident took place. Since December 2019, the CID has tried to link Bastians, and several others, to an inquiry into the alleged false accusation by the Swiss employee, seemingly attempting to prove some form of conspiracy. Pro-government media have conducted a campaign against Bastians and her family, supported by attacks on social media, labeling her a traitor and criminal.