Sunday, March 8, 2009

For immediate release – 6 March 2009

Sri Lanka: Free Journalist Detained on Terrorism Charges

365 days after Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was detained under
Anti-Terrorism legislation, ARTICLE 19 joins many people and organisations
around the world calling for his immediate release.
Tissainayagam, now an Amnesty International
Prisoner of Conscience, was detained without charge
on 7 March 2008. Following international calls for
his release the Sri Lankan authorities finally brought
charges against him under the Prevention of
Terrorism Act on 25 August 2008 for a series of
newspaper articles.
According to journalist and former Convener of the
Sri Lankan Free Media Movement, Uvindu
Kurukulasuriya, “Tissainayagam was considered a
kind of bridge between the north and south, or the
Sinhalese and the Tamils. He has written many
articles concerning the ethnic situation in Sri Lanka.”
Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director ARTICLE 19 adds “over the past 3 years
more than 14 journalists have been killed in Sri Lanka and many have escaped to
India and the West, fearing for their lives. Tissainayagam’s case well demonstrates
the threats that counter terrorism legislation and measures pose to freedom of the
press, as they are so easily abused. His continued imprisonment for the peaceful
expression of his opinion sadly constitutes one of the many violations that are
common place in today’s Sri Lanka, including wide censorship, self-censorship, death
threats, violence and arbitrary arrests.”
Today ARTICLE 19 joins seven media rights organisations in demanding that the Sri
Lankan government urgently review his case. To read the full statement, visit:

To read past ARTICLE 19 statements on Tissainayagam’s case, visit:
• Sri Lanka: Journalist Still in Detention After 250 Days -
• Sri Lanka: Free Speech Indicted -