Federation of Journalists (IFJ) holds grave fears for the safety of detained
Tamil media worker N. Jesiharan and his family in Sri Lanka after the family received
threats and demands for ransom in return for Jesiharan’s safety while in
The IFJ appeals to Sri Lanka’s
Minister for Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe, to
honour a commitment he made to assure Jesiharan of protection while in custody.
Jesiharan is currently on trial on
charges laid under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
According to the Free Media
an IFJ affiliate, Jesiharan’s family
in a remote village in the volatile Batticoloa District, in Sri Lanka’s east, reported
receiving three threatening phone calls on November 25 and 26. The caller
demanded a ransom of Rs100,000 (about $US920) to keep Jesiharan alive, the FMM
The family lodged a complaint with
the Kalavanchikudi police station. However, the duty police officer told the FMM the police could not take action because the
caller’s number could not be identified.
the owner of E-Kwality Printers, and
his partner Valarmathi were detained by the Terrorist Investigation Division
(TID) of the Sri Lankan police in March, along with senior Tamil journalist J.S.
After being held for more than 150
days without charge, all three were indicted
on August 25 under the PTA, and are now on trial. The charges refer to the
content of Tissainayagam’s
and Tissainayagam were unexpectedly moved
from a remand prison to the notoriously violent Magazine Prison in Colombo following a visit
from Samarasinghe on November 17. Samarasinghe had promised to improve their conditions
and international press freedom groups expressed extreme concern about the move,
two representatives from the Human Rights and Disaster Management Ministry reportedly
visited the two men in prison and confirmed that they were not being held with
made to Jesiharan’s family make it even more imperative that Sri Lanka’s
Government and authorities fulfill their responsibility to ensure no harm comes
to Jesiharan, Valarmathi and Tissainayagam, nor to their families” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
joins the FMM in calling on Minister
Samarasinghe to increase security for all three, and to investigate fully the
threats against Jesiharan’s family and to ensure the perpetrator of the threats
is brought to justice.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide