by Our Correspondent in Geneva
In the hallowed halls of Geneva, Channel 4’s documentary makers faced unsettling questions about their allegations, met with a wall of silence. Their recent documentary, which delved into the tragic Easter Bombings of 2019 in Sri Lanka, brought Director Mr Thom Walker and Executive Producer Mr Ben de Pear to Geneva, where they addressed a meagre audience, barely numbering more than ten, a few miles away from the UN Human Rights Council. Their solemn proclamation sent shivers: neither director nor producer possessed credible evidence to support the serious claims made by their “Whistleblower,” Mr. Mohamed Hanzeer Mohamed Mihlar, known as ‘Azad Maulana.’
This event was orchestrated by an NGO led by a jewellery businessperson, originally from Kandy but now entrenched in Geneva. Allegedly, this individual bankrolls a few individuals in Colombo, who aim to weave a grand conspiracy implicating certain politicians in the Easter Sunday bombings.
When pressed for answers by a Sri Lankan origin senior journalist turned human rights defender based in Geneva, Thom Walker faltered, stating, I can’t really give you a good answer about a meeting between Azad Maulana and Zahran, and I do not have any evidence of a prior meeting between Suresh Sallay and Zahran.
Both the Director and the Executive Producer found themselves at a loss when challenged to substantiate their allegations in their poorly researched documentary, which heavily relied purely on Azad Maulana’s questionable testimony before the UN Human Rights Body in December 2022.
Recent revelations expose their deceit, as they manipulated and distorted the statements of one of their documentary subjects. Former diplomat Sarath Kongahage, immediately after the Channel 4 broadcast, asserted that they had deceived him through a local journalist with permanent residency in the UK, working for a private television channel.
Yet, even after the screening, Azad Maulana emerged via Zoom to field questions from the audience. His answers echoed his previous claims, offering nothing new but recycling his earlier narrative. He repeatedly asserted that General Suresh Sallay had maintained contact with him since 2006, yet he could not produce a single telephone call or message from General Sallay. This absence of evidence suggests that this deceiver concocted the entire story to serve ulterior motives.
In stark contrast to Channel 4, which seems to have abandoned all moral compass and journalistic ethics without a hint of remorse, our previous reports were rooted in concrete evidence. They detailed how Azad Maulana allegedly extorted money from unsuspecting victims under the guise of job opportunities and orchestrated a fraudulent marriage to subject a woman to more than ten days of sexual assault. Unlike Channel 4, our dispatches initiated criminal investigations against this alleged fraudster and rapist.
Furthermore, we exclusively reported that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) extended a job offer to Azad Maulana back in January 2022. We have tirelessly pursued this inquiry with both their local and international offices, but their silence has been deafening. This entire saga underscores the extent to which Sri Lanka is targeted by vested interests, willing to plunge to the depths of moral bankruptcy to tarnish their adversaries.