Fears for safety of Veerakesari associate editor
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 18:24 GMT]
Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) said Tuesday it is “extremely concerned”
about the safety of Vediwel Thevaraj, associate editor of the Tamil daily
Veerakesari, who has received death threats.
In a letter to the Minister of Public Security, Law and Order, Ratnasiri
Wickramanayake, the organisation urged the authorities in Colombo to take
seriously threats against the Tamil journalist since the murder of one of
his colleagues, Dharmeratnam Sivaram on 29 April 2005.
“It is urgent to arrest the authors of these threats before they can put
them into effect,” RSF said.
Extracts from RSF’s statement follow:
“On two successive days after the abduction of Sivaram, the 29 and 30 April,
unidentified people speaking in Singalese and Tamil telephoned Thevaraj’s
home. Most of the calls were taken by the journalist’s niece, who was told
that her uncle would be next on the list.”
“When he heard about Sivaram’s death, Thevaraj, who was in Melbourne at the
time, decided to cut short his visit and to return to Colombo. On 1st May,
he went to the deceased man’s home where his body was still lying.
Throughout his visit, from 3.30 to 9.30pm, Thevaraj noticed a suspicious
looking grey jeep, parked in front of the house, the same type of vehicle
that had been used to abduct the journalist.
“Later in the evening, after returning home, Thevaraj was woken by noises
from the street. He opened the door to see where the noises came from and
recognised the same grey jeep, this time parked a few metres from his house.
“The following day, the Tamil journalist received a further anonymous call
at his office repeating the death threats.
“Thevaraj went to Canada on a long-planned trip from 5-21 May and has
received no new threats since he returned to Colombo.”