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Sri Lanka 20 April 2007

Tamil journalist murdered in government-controlled zone

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Sri Lankan government to order an investigation into the murder of Chandrabose Suthaharan, editor of the local magazine Nilam and contributor to other Tamil news media, on 16 April in the northern town of Vavuniya, where at least 25 civilians have been killed since the start of the month. Controlled by the government, the town is close to the area held by the Tamil Tigers.

"The authorities must lose no time in shedding light on the circumstances of this murder," the press freedom organisation said. "The impunity reigning in the east and north encourages the militias and death squads to continue their human rights violations. The government, several of whose members regularly threaten the press and human rights activists, is partly to blame for this violence."

Seven journalists and media assistants were killed in Sri Lanka in 2006.

The Free Media Movement said Chandrabose Suthaharan was shot dead on the evening of 16 April at his home in Thirunavatkulam, near Vavuniya. His eight-year old son said the killers spoke both Tamil and Sinhala.

As well as being the sole editor of the local literary magazine Nilam, Chandrabose Suthaharan wrote for a number of other Tamil publications including the Colombo-based magazine Ahavili and the London-based Tamil World. He studied at the College of Journalism and got work experience with the national daily Virakesari. He wrote mainly literary articles. He was also known for his poetry.

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