Releasing a statement yesterday (22) the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) requested the authorities to return the laptop belonging to journalist and former Sunday Observer Editor Dharisha Bastians which was seized by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on June 9.
In its statement, the SLWJA pointed out that any journalist being subjected to a legal or any other inquiry it a professional capacity must be dealt with according to internationally accepted norms. They also noted that authorities must not act in a manner which will negatively impact the journalist’s sources and contacts.
According to the Association Bastians had expressed her concerns to them of the possibility that contents of the laptop could be unofficially released to the public.
Meanwhile also releasing a statement last week the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Sri Lankan authorities should immediately return journalist Dharisha Bastians’ computer and allow her to report without fear of official harassment.
In a statement on twitter recently Bastians said that on May 29 and then June 4, the CID had visited her home and attempted to seize her laptop without a warrant. On June 9 the CID had once again arrived at her residence in Colombo with a warrant to search the house and seized her laptop.
Bastians has said she is willing to cooperate with any investigation by appropriate law enforcement agencies and that she is confident the CID will find nothing incriminating in the analysis of the computer. “But under the prevailing circumstances, I remain gravely concerned about potential efforts by interested parties to compromise the integrity of the hardware, software, data and documents of the laptop and any other electronic material/devices belonging to me, obtained by law enforcement,” she said.