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.
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.
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.
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
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide