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Sri Lanka 24 November 2008

Leading Tamil radio journalist released after eight days

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release on 22 November of A. R. V. Loshan, a leading Tamil radio presenter and director of privately-owned radio Vettri FM, who was arrested by the Terrorist Investigations Department on 14 November.

His mother told Reporters Without Borders he was not hurt during his imprisonment. The police have for the time being held on to his mobile phones but they will supposedly be returned to him in the next few days.

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of two other Tamil journalists, J. S. Tissainayagam et Vettivel Jasikaran, who are still being detained under the anti-terrorism law.


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

A. R. V. Loshan

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.

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