IFJ Condemns Two-Month Detention Without Charge in Sri Lanka

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands

authorities in Sri Lanka

take immediate action to resolve the arbitrary two-month detention, without

charge, of Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam and two colleagues.

 

Tissainayagam, the editor of www.outreach.sl, has been detained since

March 7 along with N. Jasiharan, an outreach writer and the owner of E-Kwality

Printers, and Jasiharan’s partner, Valarmathi, after Sri Lanka’s Terrorist

Information Department (TID) arrested seven media personnel from March 6 to 8.

 

TID officers said the seven were taken in for questioning in

relation to the outreach website, according to the Free Media Movement (FMM),

an IFJ affiliate. The E-Kwality

printing press and outreach website office have been sealed and closed without recourse

to legal procedures.

 

TID has

since released reporter K. Wijesingha, visual editor Udayanan and cameraman

Ranga (all associated with outreach) and the editor of the Tamil language Sarinihar magazine, S. Sivakumar.

 

In the case of Tissainayagam, a 90-day detention

order was issued on March 27, 20 days after his arrest, following his submission

of a fundamental rights petition to demand his release. In court, the State

counsel is reported to have said he previously did not have a detention order.

 

Tissainayagam

has a serious eye condition and is at risk of blindness if he does not receive

specialist attention while Valarmathi is reported also to need urgent medical

attention.

 

“After two months, if charges cannot be brought in a court

of law in accordance with due legal process, Sri Lanka’s authorities must

release all three immediately,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

 

“The manner in which these cases have proceeded indicates

authorities are seeking to secure silence and instill fear among journalists

who report in a critical and independent manner.”

 

The IFJ joins the FMM

in urging Sri Lanka’s

Government to abide by international human rights standards and ensure Tissainayagam and his colleagues receive a fair and just

hearing.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 120 countries