7 December 2023
Cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda (Sri Lanka), who has been a victim of a State-sponsored disappearance since 13 years, is awarded the Prix Engel-du Tertre 2023 by the ACAT Foundation (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture).
As the cartoonist is the victim of an enforced disappearance, the prize is presented to his wife Sandya Eknaligoda on Thursday 7 December 2023 in Paris. Sandya Eknaligoda is fighting tirelessly to shed full light on the circumstances surrounding her husband’s abduction.
According to the ACAT Foundation (article in French), which is appealing to the French authorities for support in the fight against enforced disappearance, the award of this prize to the cartoonist is a strong call to Sri Lanka to ensure that justice and truth will finally be done.
Cartooning for Peace celebrates the tribute paid to the cartoonist and salutes the courage of Sandya Eknaligoda. The organisation joins the appeal launched by the activist and the ACAT Foundation and in turn calls for justice and truth to be rendered.
Cartooning for Peace will pay particular attention to the continuation of the trial that started in 2019 and that is still underway (see below), as the next hearing is planned in January 2024.
📢 [CARTOONIST ALERT]#SriLanka
Cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda, a victim of State-sponsored disappearance since 13 years, is awarded the “Prix Engel-du Tertre 2023” by @ACAT_France this Thursday 7 December 2023.
CFP celebrates this tribute the cartoonist: https://t.co/zRNdJwUuEU
— Cartooning for Peace (@CartooningPeace) December 7, 2023
10 years later… Still no news from Prageeth Ekneligoda
On 24 January 2020, it has been 10 years since Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda disappeared. Today, despite a 10-year investigation and the start of the trial for kidnapping that began in November 2019, many grey areas remain.
Cartooning for Peace hopes that this trial will shed light on what happened to Prageeth and reiterates its support for his wife and his entire family.
Prageeth Eknaligoda is a Sri Lankan political analyst and caricaturist whose cartoons clearly denounce Sri Lankan government –political power was in the Rajapaksa group’s hands at that time. This cartoonist does not even sign his cartoons that particularly criticize President Mahinda Rajapaksa because he fears retaliation.
Prageeth disappeared on the 24 January 2010. He was leaving the premises of Lanka E-news, a Sri Lankan news website based in Homagama. In 2011, following the absence of reaction from Sri Lankan authorities that did not take any measures to learn more about Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance, Reporters Without Borders and Cartooning for Peace launched a campaign to support the cartoonist.
When Sirisena was elected President in January 2015, things changed and the investigation reopened, even though a bit late: the cartoonist has been missing for 5 years already.
However, the investigation enabled us to learn more about the case thanks to the arrest of two former members of the Tamil Tigers and five soldiers in August 2015: the former members of the Tamil Tigers confess being responsible for kidnapping and leaving Prageeth in a military camp in Girithale.