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Sri Lanka 9 January 2003

Grenade attack on Tamilnet journalist’s house

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) today strongly condemned a grenade attack on the house of journalist Senathirajah Jeyanandanmoorthy on 7 January and called on the interior minister John Amaratunga to immediately investigate. It stressed the importance of the enquiry in view of ongoing peace talks in Thailand between the Sri Lankan government and rebel forces.

The house of Jeyanandanmoorthy, correspondent of the news website and Tamil daily Virakesari in the eastern town of Batticaloa, is in a top security zone guarded by the Sri Lankan army about 30 kms from the city. The attackers also tried to burn the house down, but the journalist and his family managed to escape. Witnesses saw a military police patrol nearby.

Jeyanandanmoorthy has received death threats in the past from Muslim extremist groups, according to the East Lanka Journalist Association, of which he is vice-president.  It noted that the house of a person living next door to a correspondent of was burned down by mistake last June.

Jeyanandanmoorthy has written several articles about Muslim extremist activities in the region. His reports about the Tamil Tiger rebels have also been criticised by Sinhalese nationalists.

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