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Sri Lanka 24 August 2005

Press photographer beaten up amid continuing political tension

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the beating which news photographer Yathurshan Premachchandran of the Tamil-language daily Sudar Oli received yesterday in Colombo from activists of the JVP (People’s Liberation Party) who accused him of belonging to the Tamil Tigers armed movement, the LTTE.

Premachchandran was suddenly attacked while taking photos of a JVP protest. Participants in the demonstration grabbed his camera, mobile phone and wallet, beat him up and then turned him over to the police.

"It is outrageous that Sri Lankan journalists are being made to pay for the current political tension," Reporters Without Borders said. "Three journalists have been killed and dozens have been physically attacked in the past 12 months. We call on the militants on all sides to stop making scapegoats out of journalists."

After being handed over to the police, Premachchandran was taken to the Colombo police station where members of the intelligence services came and questioned him about his supposed LTTE membership.

He was later transferred to the headquarters of the criminal investigation department and was released on bail when he appeared in court today.

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