Thursday, March 18, 2010

Media groups condemn the arrest of journalist Ruwan Weerakoon

Sri Lanka's five media organisations have condemned the arrest of defense correspondent Ruwan Weerakoon, who worked for The Nation and the Bottom Line newspapers in Colombo and Asia Tribune website, by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) few days ago and demand his immediate release. The joint statement was issued by Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Alliance (SLTJA), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMFF) and Federation of Media Employee Trade Union (FMEPU).

"As a defense correspondent journalist Ruwan Weerakoon had a close association with General( Rtd.)Sarath Fonseka during the last phase of the war with LTTE and it was reported that because of this association he received death threats from a navy commander in early 2009. In our opinion the arrest of Ruwan Weerakoon, which seems to be a politically motivated victimization is direct result of his journalism practice" the statement said.

"We request the Inspector General of Police to disclose the reasons behind the arrest and detention of Ruwan Weerakoon and make arrangements for him to receive legal aid immediately, if the TID intends to keep him in detention.

"It was just a month ago the president Mahinda Rajapaksha ordered police to inform him before arresting any media personal. Our organisations would like to know whether that procedure was followed in arresting Ruwan Weerakoon and presidential consent was obtain for the arrest."

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