Monday, August 31, 2009


A Sri Lankan court has sentenced a prominent Tamil journalist to 20 years in prison after convicting him under anti-terrorism laws.

High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundara found JS Tissainayagam guilty of "causing communal disharmony".

Mr Tissainayagam was arrested in 2008 and charged with inciting violence in articles in his magazine, the North Eastern Monthly, which is now closed.

He was also accused of receiving funds from the Tamil Tigers rebels.

Mr Tissainayagam was found guilty of causing "racial hatred" and "supporting terrorism", a court official said.

The court found that he had received money from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to fund his website, the official said.

Mr Tissainayagam's case has received widespread attention in Sri Lanka. International rights group have been campaigning for his release - they say Sri Lanka is using anti-terror laws to silence peaceful critics.

Mr Tissainayagam was held for more than five months before he was charged with publishing and distributing a magazine, alleged to have brought the government into disrepute.

Campaign groups say Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.


Related Links:
Sri Lankan court jails Tamil journalist who criticised war - Guardian
Sri Lankan journalist given 20 years in prison - AP
Tamil scribe given 20 yrs for 'supporting terrorism' - PTI

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