SLA threatens Jaffna journalist

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 November 2003, 19:02 GMT]
The military intelligence unit of the Sri Lanka army at the Muhamalai entry point in Jaffna Wednesday stopped the journalist, Mr. Velupillai Thavachelvam, for more than an hour, threatening and accusing him of casting aspersions on the SLA in the northern peninsula deliberately. According to Mr. Thavachelvam, the soldiers who threatened him had said: “People like you had a free run under (Prime Minister) Ranil’s government. But now the President is in charge. So we can do anything to you”.

thavachelvam.jpgThe soldiers had told the journalist that he would have to face dire consequences if he continued to file reports that cast a negative light on the SLA in Jaffna.

“We don’t care even if you publish that we stopped you for questioning”, the soldiers told him, according to Mr. Thavachelvam.
Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, BBC journalist, shot dead on 19 October 2000 Mr. Nimalarajan

The journalist has been harassed by the SLA several times in the past for his reports about the activities of the army on Jaffna’s southeastern coast.

Mr. Thavachelvam’s colleague and mentor, Mr. Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, was killed two years ago by gunmen suspected to be from a paramilitary group that works closely with the SLA in Jaffna.

“The threat to Mr. Thavachelvam shows that the military is back to its old ways - returning to the days of absolute impunity it enjoyed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations in threatening, arbitrarily detaining, and torturing thousands of Tamils while President Kumaratunga was in power”, said Mr. R. Thurairatnam, the President of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, reacting to the report that the journalist, Mr. Thavachelvam was intimidated.

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