Tamil female journalist arrested at UNESCO Freedom event

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 May 2006, 11:03 GMT]
Sivaramya Sivanathan, a Tamil female journalist attached to state owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) as a relief announcer, was questioned by the Sri Lanka police at the entrance of the conference and arrested despite her producing her identity card given by the SLBC, a media release issued by the Free Media Movement (FMM) said. The FMM urged the Sri Lanka government to "instruct the police to speed up the investigations and release Ms. Sivaramya Sivanathan if she is proved innocent."

Full text of the press release issued by the FMM follows:

A female journalist arrested on suspicion at the UNESCO WPFD conference in Colombo on 1st of May 2006 was remanded by Colombo chief magistrate Kusala Weerawardana on 2th upon produced by the cinnamon garden police.

Police has told the court that the case has been handed over to the National Intelligent Service and Terrorist Investigation Division for further investigation to find out whether she has any links with terrorism/ organisations.

Sivaramya Sivanathan, a Tamil female journalist attached to state owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) as a relief announcer, was questioned by the police at the entrance of the conference. When she couldn't produce a invitation for the event she was arrested and handed over to the police despite her producing her identity card given by the SLBC. Director, Tamil services SLBC Mr. Jeevendra Kumar confirmed FMM that Ms. Sivaramaya is working under him as a relief announcer.

Number of journalists who didn't have invitation cards was allowed to enter the conference and in general invitation cards were not asked to be produced at the entrance.

The only reason FMM could think of for asking Ms. Sivaramya for an offcial invitation was that she belongs to the minority Tamil community. FMM understands security concerns of the government in dangerously volatile situation developing in the country but would like to emphasis that discriminatory practices usually do more harm than good.

FMM urge the government to look into this incident urgently and instruct the police to speed up the investigations and release Ms. Sivaramya Sivanathan if she is proved innocent.

Sunanda Deshapriya
(+94 ) 0777 312457 for FMM

 

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