IFJ mounts campaign to free journalist Parameshwary

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 12:13 GMT]
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Free Media Movement (FMM) together with other journalists organisations Monday launched an International and national campaign to release journalist Parameshawary who has been detained in Sri Lanka prison for seventy days without trial, civil sources in Colombo said. She was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) act. The authorities have filed no charges and have failed to establish any links with terrorist activity, the letter of appeal says.

The campaign urges the readers to write to Sri Lanka's President and Prime Minister demanding the release of the journalist.

Full text of the sample letter follows:

His Excellency, Mahinda Rajapaksa
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

His Excellency, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Prime Minister
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Release journalist Parameshwaree

Dear Sirs,

I am/ our organisation writing to you on behalf of campaign, to call for the immediate release of Mawbima journalist Mawnasamy Parameshwaree (23) who has been detained by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) without charge for more than 60 days. I / our organisation support the above campaign launched by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Free Media Movement (FMM)

Parameshwaree has been held in the TID office in Colombo since her detention on November 26, 2006, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act on suspicion of having links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Yet no charges have been laid against her. Up until recently she was denied access to lawyers, her editor and media organisations, and in another travesty of justice on January 23, after a brief court appearance, the TID were successful in extending her detention for another 30 days without trial.

This is an absolutely disgraceful situation, and your government can not remain inactive as a young female journalist is denied her most basic human rights, and languishes in detention. This terrible case has grave implications for press freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka.

Parameshwaree was known for reporting on issues related to the Tamil community and had investigated disappearances in Colombo. In light of her objective journalism and the tenuous claims against her, the IFJ again stresses our concerns that these new Emergency (Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities) Regulations are being used and abused to oppress the media and silence vital independent voices.

Given that no charges have been laid, and that investigations conducted to date have failed to establish any links between her and terrorist activity of any kind, the IFJ demands the government intervene to facilitate her immediate release.

It is time for the Sri Lankan government to show the world that it understands the values of press freedom and democracy, and secure an immediate release for Parameshwaree.

Yours sincerely,

22.03.07  Reckless Justice

External Links:
IFJ: International Federation of Journalists


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