Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Sri Lanka 24 April 2009

Reporters Without Borders welcomes release of N. Vithyatharan

Reporters Without Borders welcomed the release of editor of the Tamil daily Sudar Oli, N. Vithyatharan, who had been held by police since 26 February 2009, accused of having links with Tamil Tiger rebels.

A court in Colombo today ordered the journalist’s release. The Colombo Criminal Division (CCD) in charge of the investigation, as well as other departments of the police and the military, cleared the journalist for lack of evidence.

Investigators spent two months going through hundreds of phone calls made and received by the journalist. Police also checked his bank accounts without finding any link with the Tamil Tigers. He left the court a free man, accompanied by his lawyer and his wife.

“Why did they need to detain me for two months over completely false accusations?” the editor asked. “All police services and even military secret services cleared me after checking my phone calls and my bank accounts”, he told Reporters Without Borders.

“The decision of the justice system to release N. Vithyatharan is good news which should, we hope, open the way to the release of another Tamil journalist J. S. Tissanayagam, held for more than a year without proof”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“The fact he has been completely cleared by the security services is very positive. It seems important today that officials, including Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, should accept the consequences, and apologise for the accusations made against the journalist,” the organisation added.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said in an interview with Australian SBS television that Vithyatharan was a “terrorist”. “He was implicated in a recent air raid. If you try to shield this person, you will have blood on your hands. And if someone says that he was arrested for his journalistic activities, then he will also have blood on his hands", the minister, who is the president’s brother, said.




In this country
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
19 May - Sri Lanka
Army holding three doctors who gave information to press
11 May - Sri Lanka
Three foreign journalists expelled from Sri Lanka
7 May - Sri Lanka
Parliamentarian threatens online journalists
5 May - Sri Lanka
Open letter to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn about loan to Sri Lanka

in the annual report
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2008
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2007
Sri Lanka - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years