Sri Lanka Urged to Confirm Restoration of Tissainayagam’s Rights



The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is

awaiting details and verification that senior Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam will receive a full presidential

pardon for his conviction on charges of “causing communal



The IFJ wishes

to verify that the reported pardon for Tissainayagam

is unconditional, and that Tissainayagam’s

rights are fully restored, including his right to safety and protection.


“Tissainayagam, his family, colleagues and the

international community require official confirmation that Tissainayagam’s full civil, political and human

rights have been restored and he is able to live and work freely and safely,”

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White



Tissainayagam was first

detained in March 2008. He was held for more than five months until

being charged in August 2008 under anti-terror and

emergency laws. He was accused of attempting to cause racial or communal disharmony

through his articles on human rights issues

published in the North-Eastern Monthly in

2006 and 2007.


Tissainayagam was

convicted on August 31 last year to 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment under Sri Lanka’s

draconian anti-terror and emergency laws. It was one of the harshest sentences

ever imposed on a journalist in a democratic country, on the basis of the

content of their professional work.


Tissainayagam was

granted bail in January this year while awaiting an appeal trial.


On May 3,

World Press Freedom Day, Sri

Lanka’s Minister for External Affairs, G.L.

Peiris, reportedly told a press conference that President Mahinda Rajapaksa

would pardon Tissainayagam. 



the IFJ is yet to see official confirmation of the pardon and to confirm that all

necessary judicial procedures have been enacted to restore his rights and

provide assurance of his safety.



urges Sri Lanka’s

Government to clarify the details of the reported pardon as a high priority.


“The IFJ

will be relieved if there is confirmation of a full and unconditional pardon,

and there is assurance by the highest authorities in Sri Lanka that they will take

responsibility for ensuring Tissainayagam’s

right to safety is not violated,” White said.


The IFJ also calls on the international community

and press freedom advocates to maintain their commitment and attention to Tissainayagam’s case to ensure his rights are fully



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919



represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide