SLTMA condemns arrest of Tamil journalist
[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 December 2005, 16:54 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) Sunday condemned the arrest and detention of a Tamil senior journalist working in a leading Colombo based Tamil daily newspaper "Thinakkural"along with two other employees in the computer unit of the same newspaper in the Kirulapone Police Station Saturday night. The SLTMA, in a letter sent to Mr.Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Media Minister, to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of Tamil journalists from the harassment of government law enforcement authorities.
All three were released Sunday around noon, media sources said.
Excerpts of the SLTMA letter to the Minister follow: -
Mr.P.Parthipan, Thinakkural senior journalist and two computer technicians Messrs Kokulan and Sarveswaran who were returning to their house in the company vehicle after night duty were arrested between Wellawatte and Pamankade by the police in their routine search operation around 11.30 p.m.
Mr.Parthipan immediately identified himself as a journalist by producing his media accreditation card of the Government Information Department in addition to his National Identity Card and newspaper office identity card.
The three being questioned told the Police that they were returning from their night shift in the newspaper office. But the Police disregarded their plea and took them to the Kirulapone Police Station. Later around Saturday midnight they were taken to another place from Kirulapone Police Station where fingerprints of them were taken by a police officer who treated them like criminals. Thereafter the Police took photographs of them and videoed them.
The Police did not taken any steps to inform the arrest of these persons to the newspaper company where they are employed and also to their relatives.
The SLTMA considers that the Police had arrested the Tamil journalist and employees of the Tamil newspaper because they were Tamils.
The SLTMA is of the view that the arbitrary arrest of Tamil journalist and newspaper employees is a serious threat and intimidation to the Tamil journalists in general. Security forces in Jaffna district last week entered the office of "Namathu Eelanadu" a Tamil daily newspaper and conducted search operation and subjected journalists in the office to severe interrogation. Now a Tamil journalist in Colombo had been subjected to arrest and detention without any reason.
Hence we appeal to you to take constructive steps to ensure full protection to journalists from being harassed by security forces as criminals.