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Head of a Tamil radio station held in Colombo under anti-terror law

Statement by RSF

Reporters Without Borders today urged the Sri Lankan authorities to release the manager of a Tamil radio A. R. V. Loshan, who was arrested at his home in the capital Colombo on 15 November.

The senior radio presenter and current manager of FM Vettri was picked up by Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) agents.

The worldwide press freedom organisation said that TID allegations against him of having "links with terrorists" and "aiding terrorist activities" should be based on evidence and not on simple conjecture.
"The growing number of arrests by the authorities of Tamil journalists under the anti-terror law gives currency to the common rumor that many of them are Tamil Tiger agents, but also undermines the anti-terror law itself", the organisation added.
A colleague of the journalist told Reporters Without Borders that his mother had been allowed to visit him. He is in good health and hopes to be quickly released.

Police questioned another journalist on Vettri FM before arresting the director. The 32-year-old with more than 10 years radio experience has worked for five years for the station, which is owned by the ABC press group.

Reporters Without Borders pointed out that two other Tamil journalists - J. S. Tissainayagam and Vettivel Jasikaran - are already being held under the anti-terror law. The fiancée of the second of them, Valarmathi Jasikaran, has also been imprisoned in Colombo in very harsh conditions.

Vincent Brossel
Asia - Pacific Desk
Reporters Sans Frontières
47 rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
33 1 44 83 84 70
33 1 45 23 11 51 (fax)
asia@rsf.org
www.rsf.org

3 Comments

Dear reader,

Who ever read this news wouldn't get surprised about these arrests.

This is a usual or normal event in Srilanka.

Srilankan government always treat Tamil People as a second class citizen and so nice to other nations (give a red carpet treatment to other nation)

As a result they don't care what is happening in Srilanka or they might issue statement about human right violating and give some advice how to improve it. On the other hand they knew in advance srilankan government never going to listen those recommendations.

Daya

Posted by: dayalan | November 18, 2008 03:25 PM

I think these 'agents' of the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) must be tried in some International Court for terrorizing journalist & politicians :-)

Posted by: 2ndClassTamil | November 19, 2008 09:38 PM

Collective ethnic or racial pride contributes to spiritual and moral decay. And whenevever genocide occurs, rule of law is made inapplicable to the victims. This happens because of moral decay.

During his presidential campaign, Obama described Guantanamo Bay prison as a "sad chapter in American history". He was very keen in granting justice to the inmates. John Mc Cain had also pledged to close down Guantanamo.

Last week, advisers of Obama were quietly working out a proposal whereby some detainees would be released and others would be prosecuted in Courts. This plan is being is being developed by legal scholars from both the political parties in the USA.

This move would be in contrast to the practice from the Bush administration, which established military trribunals to prosecute detainees.

This week, Barack Obama, in his first interview said that America would be dedicated to moral standards in the world.

It is immoral to treat people like animals by denying their human rights. When any state does it to its citizens, it is punishable. It is contrary to human conscience to practice ethnic slavery, collective punishment and genocide.

We do have a "Guantanamo Bay prison" in Sri Lanka(SL). It is in Boosa. Citizen Tamil detainees, after severe torture, are spending more years together there, compared to the detainees in Guantanamo. President Bush probably established Guantanamo Bay Prison after learning about the notorious horror chamber in Boosa.

Arbitrary arrest of Tamil youth, extreme torture, keeping them in continuous detention without trial, and deliberately denying justice with the intent to destroy youthful life and human dignity, are genocidal halmarks proving moral disintegration of the Sinhala society.

If the major political parties in the South; the UNP and SLFP were really and seriously concerned about granting life and justice to Tamil detainees, they would have openly and aggressively expressed serious concern at the events in Boosa, having identified the destruction of youth life of the detainees. Sinhalese are collective participants of this crime.

Dr Martin Luther King was kept in prison for his political belief. He was a prisoner of conscience. Obama knows the intensity of the abuse of a people and their agony when thrown into prisons.

Non violent Tamil political leader SJV Chelvanayakam was thrown into Welikada prison in SL in 1958. Along with men of his political party he was kept in prison for several years, much longer than Dr Martin Luther King. For the past 50 years since then, the Tamils have faced and grown with the pain of horror from such inhuman acts in prisons. And the Sinhalese have grown adversely to perpetuate such cruelty on Tamils, without any shame whatsoever.

Freedom is usually costly. But the struggle for Tamil freedom is proving to be extremely costly in SL. Yes, we are far from peace.

Posted by: Sam Thambipillai | November 20, 2008 08:59 AM

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