The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns an attack on the family home of journalist Munusami Parameshwari in which her father and sister were seriously injured.
According to the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate, several intruders armed with clubs forcibly entered the home in Gampola, in the Kandy district, on March 14.
The attackers reportedly surrounded the house and prevented family members from seeking urgent medical attention. The group warned the family that Parameshwari would risk death if she returned to Gampola. The Gampola police eventually rescued the family.
Parameshwari has been in hiding after recent threats against her life.
Parameshwari and her family have been targeted with vicious attacks since she was arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) while working as a crime reporter for the Mawbina Sinhala-language newspaper in November 2006. Articles in newspaper reports alleging she was carrying explosives, as well as public statements by government ministers linking her to terrorist groups, proved to be fabricated.
The Mawbina has since closed after its editor and financial manager were arrested and the company’s assets were frozen by government officials.
Three weeks after Parameshwari was released without charge on March 22, 2007, she was kidnapped by uniformed men who assaulted and threatened her with death if she continued to report on crimes or conduct investigations into abductions.
On June 14, 2007, two people disguised as police officials took her passport and national identification at gunpoint.
“The horrendous treatment of Munusami Parameshwari and her family as a result of Parameshwari’s efforts to uphold press freedom as a much-needed democratic value in Sri Lanka is appalling. The Sri Lankan Government must act immediately to ensure the perpetrators of this vile attack are brought to justice,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries