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Sri Lanka ex-editor’s laptop seized by police CID

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s police had searched the house of Dharisha Bastians, a former editor of state-run The Sunday Observer and seized her laptop, and she feared compromising of data, the journalist said.

“I am willing to cooperate with any investigation by appropriate law enforcement agencies and I am confident the CID will find nothing incriminating in the analysis of my computer,” she said in a statement.

“But under the prevailing circumstances, I remain gravely concerned about potential efforts by interested parties to compromise the integrity of hardware, software, data and documents of the laptop and any other electronic material/devices belonging to me, obtained by law enforcement.

“I put my faith in Sri Lanka’s judiciary, to ensure due process is followed with regard to my computer which is now in the custody of the CID, particularly because it is a device I once used in my work as a journalist. ”

Police Criminal Investigation Department officials had come to her house on May 29 and June 04 without a search warrant and had attempted to seize her laptop but following legal advice family members had refused to do so.

On June 05, five CID officers had come back with a warrant.

“The officers searched the entire house including bedrooms, my desk and my work space,” she said in an emailed statement.

“Photographs were taken during the visit. My computer was found, seized and sealed.

“A receipt was provided for the laptop, the power adapter and the laptop bag. Statements were recorded from family members residing at my home.”

Bastians is currently abroad after a name was linked to a report on an alleged abduction of a Swiss embassy employee.

She said CID had previously got call records without a court order.

“On a previous occasion in the course of the same investigation, the CID obtained my Call Data Records without a court order, scrutinized them and subsequently exposed the information,” she said.

“As a journalist, I was horrified at the public exposure of my telephone records, which could seriously endanger and compromise my sources and contacts, then, now and in the future.” (Colombo/June15/2020)