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FMM fears for physical safety of journalist Tissainayagam in Magazine prison

J.S. Tissainayagam, senior journalist who is on trial before the High Court has been moved from the remand prison to the magazine prison in Colombo on November 18. No reasons have been given for this sudden move. Tissainayagam who appeared in courts on the 18th nor his lawyers were aware of this move. He now remains in a room with 140 convicted criminals. Free Media Movement learns that Tissainayagam has been threatened by the some prisoners. Since being moved to the magazine prison on November 18, Tissainayagam has not eaten. His dinner on the 18th was taken by the other prisoners. He was not provided with lunch on the 18th or breakfast on the 19th.

Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minster for Human Rights and Disaster Management had visited Tissainayagam on November 17th with the Prison Commissioner. At the meeting, the Minister and Prison Commissioner had agreed to improve the living conditions of the prison. The move to the magazine prison took place a day after the visit.

On March 7, the Terrorist Investigative Department (TID) arrested journalist J.S. Tissainayagam and detained him without charges for more than 150 days. He was later charged both under Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act for printing and distributing the North Eastern Monthly magazine and aiding and abetting terrorist organisations through raising money for the magazine. His trial is presently before the High Court in Colombo.

Free Media Movement is concerned with the sudden development of events and this movement without any reasons being given to Tissainayagam or his lawyers. FMM appeals to the authorities to ensure the safety of Tissainayagam and provide him with food and other essential facilities while in prison.

Recommended action: Send letters of concern to:

Hon. Minster Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights
Fax: + 94112693284; info@dmhr.gov.lk

Attorney General's Department, Sri Lanka
Fax +94112436421; administration@attorneygeneral.gov.lk

Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka
Spokesperson person - Sunanda Deshapriya (+94)777312457
No. 237/22, Wijeya Kumaratunga Road, Colombo - 05., Email : fmmsrilanka@gmail.com ;

1 Comments

The problem in South Asia is that there is political oppression and not democracy; this is the mother of evil. If Bush would have termed Pakistan-India-Sri Lanka as the axis of evil I would have totally agreed.

In Sri Lanka, there is extreme and ugly form of state terror that is causing counter terror. It became an "off shoot" of "war on terror" to the advantage of Bush and to the disadvantage of the people.

Ehnically based political oppression against Tamils exists in Sri Lanka and India. Because of this oppression, there is a resurgence now in the North East of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. It is difficult to oppress people for long, is a historical reality.

The government Of India and Sri Lanka do not practice democracy as it should be, yet they shout aloud from roof tops that they are a "democracy". The west supports them overlooking their deficiency or inaccuracy.

In India "The Hindu" newspaper, in existence for so long, has not educated the masses on the real principles and practice of democracy. They deliberately misled or miseducated the masses and so it is in Sri Lanka with Daily News, Daily Mirror, Island and other news media.

Consequently, in Sri Lanka, violating the basic principle of equality of citizens, Sinhala language was pushed down the throats of Tamils. And in India, Hindi was implemented in the South against the wishes of Tamils, making one to think of the "axis of evil". Therefore, the Sinhalese and the Hindis have become strange bed fellows !!

Political freedom to seek secession or independence - which is their legitimate right accruing from history- is denied in India; a reason why a Tamil lawmaker Vaiko is arrested and kept in custody now. This week, three TNA law makers were questioned in Sri Lanka, for expressing their desire for Tamil Eelam in the North East. The charge was that they acted against the constitution, though they expressed the despearte desire and the will of the people of North East, whom they represent.

Funnily enough, when Sarth Fonseka, the army commander and Champika Ranawaka a cabinet minister of the government, both Sinhalese, say that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese, a statement against the constitution, it is absolutely right and praiseworthy !! Fonseka was even rewarded with an extended term as military commander !!

Freedom of expression, a fundamental principle of democracy is being grossly violated through legislation and constitution of India and Sri Lanka.

The policy is "freedom for us and repression for others" is the reason for state terror and counter terror. This axis of evil should be demolished, for every one in the region to be democratically free.

Posted by: Political Analyst | November 21, 2008 03:53 AM

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