20-year sentence for Sri Lankan journalist

I was shocked this morning when I heard the news that J.S. Tissainayagam, the detained Sri Lankan journalist, was sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment by the Sri Lankan High Court.  Tissainayagam has been detained for the last 18 months and was tried under Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act for writing two magazine articles in 2006 critical of the government’s conduct of the war against the opposition Tamil Tigers.  Amnesty International considers Tissainayagam to be a prisoner of conscience, detained and prosecuted solely for his legitimate work as a journalist, and has been calling for his immediate, unconditional release.

Tissainayagam was one of the journalists singled out for praise by President Obama this past May in his statement in honor of World Press Freedom Day.

Organizations working in defense of press freedom reacted strongly to today’s sentence.  The International Federation of Journalists condemned the sentence, calling it “brutal and inhumane.”  The Committee to Protect Journalists announced today that it will honor Tissainayagam with a 2009 International Press Freedom Award.  The group Reporters Without Borders said it was “appalled” by the “shameful” sentence; the group also announced today that Tissainayagam had been selected as the first winner of the newly created Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.

Please write to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ask that J.S. Tissainayagam be released immediately and unconditionally. Thanks for any help you can give.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

138 thoughts on “20-year sentence for Sri Lankan journalist

  1. I failed to send my plea to President Rajpaksa on email address given above.I tried AIindia site it didn't open.Kindly forward the text given under:

    Mr President,
    your erstwhile colleagues, now assassinated, had welcomed your assuming office.they had seen you as a champion of human rights. What has this war against terror done to you .
    Surely so many deaths; cries of so many widows and orphaned children has plagued your judgment. I request to remains of humanism in you to grant reprieve to JS Tissainayagam and abrogate the laws which help your courts to convict writers.

    Raja Jaikrishan
    Writer, India..

  2. I failed to send my plea to President Rajpaksa on email address given above.I tried AIindia site it didn’t open.Kindly forward the text given under:

    Mr President,
    your erstwhile colleagues, now assassinated, had welcomed your assuming office.they had seen you as a champion of human rights. What has this war against terror done to you .
    Surely so many deaths; cries of so many widows and orphaned children has plagued your judgment. I request to remains of humanism in you to grant reprieve to JS Tissainayagam and abrogate the laws which help your courts to convict writers.

    Raja Jaikrishan
    Writer, India..

  3. Pingback: » 20-year sentence for Sri Lankan journalist : To Be or Not to Be @abdolian.com

  4. Journalist who lie and misinform the world delibarately are not independent nor ethical. JS Tissainayagam is not a independent journalist giving his openion. He was hell bias crook who spread lies and misinformation to create hatred and violence. People like him misguided innocent Tamil youth to terrorism. Though the these Tamil youth could be innocent, this CROOK is NOT. Just being a journalist does not give you licence to break a countiy's LAW. People like him should get the worst possible punishment of all. These are the people behind destrucution of SL. AI is organization working for LTTE for money. SL or its people cannot expect any justice by you CROOKS. You are there to destroy SL for money. May the money you get to destroy SL be poison to you and your families.

  5. D. Wijeratne, why do you spread hatred and blatant lies for J.S. and AIUSA? It sounds like your message is a big "F*** YOU!" to J.S. and AIUSA, and your bias against them truly makes me sick! :evil: :x

  6. Journalist who lie and misinform the world delibarately are not independent nor ethical. JS Tissainayagam is not a independent journalist giving his openion. He was hell bias crook who spread lies and misinformation to create hatred and violence. People like him misguided innocent Tamil youth to terrorism. Though the these Tamil youth could be innocent, this CROOK is NOT. Just being a journalist does not give you licence to break a countiy’s LAW. People like him should get the worst possible punishment of all. These are the people behind destrucution of SL. AI is organization working for LTTE for money. SL or its people cannot expect any justice by you CROOKS. You are there to destroy SL for money. May the money you get to destroy SL be poison to you and your families.

  7. D. Wijeratne, why do you spread hatred and blatant lies for J.S. and AIUSA? It sounds like your message is a big “F*** YOU!” to J.S. and AIUSA, and your bias against them truly makes me sick! :evil: :x

  8. Dear Wijeratne,
    Question is not of JS Tissainayagam's bias.Under public gaze is not the content of his articles. What concerns all is: Should we be obstructed from saying and punished for it. Will you like it happen to you? By demanding Tissainayagam's release you will be ensuring your freedom.
    Raja Jaikrishan
    India

  9. Dear Wijeratne,
    Question is not of JS Tissainayagam’s bias.Under public gaze is not the content of his articles. What concerns all is: Should we be obstructed from saying and punished for it. Will you like it happen to you? By demanding Tissainayagam’s release you will be ensuring your freedom.
    Raja Jaikrishan
    India

  10. @ D. Wijeratne – please refrain from personal attacks. Amnesty does not seek or accept money from governments or political parties for its work in documenting and campaigning against human rights abuses.

    Regardless of how you feel about Tissainayagam's work, he deserves justice. His detainment was arbitrary, his confession was obtained under duress and the other evidence against him does not hold water.

  11. @ D. Wijeratne – please refrain from personal attacks. Amnesty does not seek or accept money from governments or political parties for its work in documenting and campaigning against human rights abuses.

    Regardless of how you feel about Tissainayagam’s work, he deserves justice. His detainment was arbitrary, his confession was obtained under duress and the other evidence against him does not hold water.

  12. I totally condemn this act by the Sri Lankan government too. There is no right to shut the mouths of journalists. Freedom of Expression is a must in any country !

  13. I totally condemn this act by the Sri Lankan government too. There is no right to shut the mouths of journalists. Freedom of Expression is a must in any country !

  14. Reference- Vichara
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Why you stole the Alfonso pen name?
    ( Reference-Alfonso
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:07 am)

    Are you suffering from multiple personality disorder ?
    That’s nasty !!!

    ***************
    Such crimes have long been endemic in Sri Lanka. The government & military junta is committed only to a law of impunity!!

    61 yrs of self-rule (since independence from Britain in 1948) has but fuelled a pseudo-Buddhist dictatorship that has eliminated its Tamil population to second-class citizens.

    Dharmeratnam Sivaram
    Aiyathurai Nadesan
    Mylvaganam Nimalrajan

    make up a long list of Tamil writers killed by government death squads.

    Why, even Lasantha Wickrematunge, a leading Sinhalese journalist was assassinated early this year. His crime, being a conscience of truth!

    Tissainayagam also gave voice to the struggles of the oppressed, knowing the risks to his own life. As others before him, he too has paid a huge price!

  15. Reference- Vichara
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Why you stole the Alfonso pen name?
    ( Reference-Alfonso
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:07 am)

    Are you suffering from multiple personality disorder ?
    That’s nasty !!!

    ***************
    Such crimes have long been endemic in Sri Lanka. The government & military junta is committed only to a law of impunity!!

    61 yrs of self-rule (since independence from Britain in 1948) has but fuelled a pseudo-Buddhist dictatorship that has eliminated its Tamil population to second-class citizens.

    Dharmeratnam Sivaram
    Aiyathurai Nadesan
    Mylvaganam Nimalrajan

    make up a long list of Tamil writers killed by government death squads.

    Why, even Lasantha Wickrematunge, a leading Sinhalese journalist was assassinated early this year. His crime, being a conscience of truth!

    Tissainayagam also gave voice to the struggles of the oppressed, knowing the risks to his own life. As others before him, he too has paid a huge price!

  16. Reference -Vanni
    September 14th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Yes Vanni, this Sinhalese man, who stole five laptops and ten digital cameras from aTamil house. Several artifacts plundered from Hindu temples were also found in his possession. During the war, he ,Deshapremi Saman Kumara Ramawickrama, as a good friend Brigadier Shavendra Silva of 58 Division(Sri Lankan Army), he was allowed to torture, rape and murder prisoners, innocent civilians

  17. Reference -Vanni
    September 14th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Yes Vanni, this Sinhalese man, who stole five laptops and ten digital cameras from aTamil house. Several artifacts plundered from Hindu temples were also found in his possession. During the war, he ,Deshapremi Saman Kumara Ramawickrama, as a good friend Brigadier Shavendra Silva of 58 Division(Sri Lankan Army), he was allowed to torture, rape and murder prisoners, innocent civilians

  18. There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka even after the end of LTTE, the country’s former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who survived an assassination attempt by the group, said today. “Even I care for my life. It is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) that is in power. Still even I don’t feel safe,” Kumaratunga, who was on a personal visit to Kerala, told reporters here. “Overall there is lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the country. Basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka,” she said.
    Atmosphere of fear continue to stalk Lanka: Chandrika http://www.ptinews.com/news/284067_Atmosphere-of-

  19. There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka even after the end of LTTE, the country’s former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who survived an assassination attempt by the group, said today. “Even I care for my life. It is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) that is in power. Still even I don’t feel safe,” Kumaratunga, who was on a personal visit to Kerala, told reporters here. “Overall there is lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the country. Basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka,” she said.
    Atmosphere of fear continue to stalk Lanka: Chandrika http://www.ptinews.com/news/284067_Atmosphere-of-

  20. There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka even after the end of LTTE, the country’s former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who survived an assassination attempt by the group, said today. “Even I care for my life. It is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) that is in power. Still even I don’t feel safe,” Kumaratunga, who was on a personal visit to Kerala, told reporters here. “Overall there is lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the country. Basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka,” she said.
    Atmosphere of fear continue to stalk Lanka: Chandrika http://www.ptinews.com/news/284067_Atmosphere-of-

  21. There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka even after the end of LTTE, the country’s former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who survived an assassination attempt by the group, said today. “Even I care for my life. It is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) that is in power. Still even I don’t feel safe,” Kumaratunga, who was on a personal visit to Kerala, told reporters here. “Overall there is lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the country. Basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka,” she said.
    Atmosphere of fear continue to stalk Lanka: Chandrika
    http://www.ptinews.com/news/284067_Atmosphere-of-fear-continue-to-stalk-Lanka–Chandrika

  22. I have never suported LTTE and Tamil Eelam but after i see the whole things personlay with my own eyes what Bhudist Bhikku backed Sinhala Govermant doing to Thamils, I REALLY SCHOKED. Yes, I started to search more TRUTHS nad i FIND it.
    People, as you all can see, even in this blog Sinhala man called Vicchara has stolen my pen name to DISORDER the comments. Imagine what SL would not do to fool the International Community.
    as i told once, commenting on net is not my hobby. I am doing this to help Innocent Thamils.

    Please help the Innocent Thamils.

    I can imagine about the SLG on Thamils stands.

  23. Dear Jim,

    Whilst this sentence does seem a bit on the harsh side it seems that there are some troubling aspects to this case not mentioned in your story.

    It seems that he was convicted for obtaining funds from the LTTE and being an agent of the LTTE and NOT for writing pro-LTTE articles.

    His defence counsel didn't ask for a reduced sentence and throughout the case, the Judge made specific mention of the defence not contesting certain key points including the admissibility of his confession made whilst under custody.

    A defence witnesses' testimony ended up proving the prosecution's point.

    He was convicted in a properly convened Court of Law. The appeal against this sentence is yet to be heard.

  24. I have never suported LTTE and Tamil Eelam but after i see the whole things personlay with my own eyes what Bhudist Bhikku backed Sinhala Govermant doing to Thamils, I REALLY SCHOKED. Yes, I started to search more TRUTHS nad i FIND it.
    People, as you all can see, even in this blog Sinhala man called Vicchara has stolen my pen name to DISORDER the comments. Imagine what SL would not do to fool the International Community.
    as i told once, commenting on net is not my hobby. I am doing this to help Innocent Thamils.

    Please help the Innocent Thamils.

    I can imagine about the SLG on Thamils stands.

  25. Dear Jim,

    Whilst this sentence does seem a bit on the harsh side it seems that there are some troubling aspects to this case not mentioned in your story.

    It seems that he was convicted for obtaining funds from the LTTE and being an agent of the LTTE and NOT for writing pro-LTTE articles.

    His defence counsel didn’t ask for a reduced sentence and throughout the case, the Judge made specific mention of the defence not contesting certain key points including the admissibility of his confession made whilst under custody.

    A defence witnesses’ testimony ended up proving the prosecution’s point.

    He was convicted in a properly convened Court of Law. The appeal against this sentence is yet to be heard.

  26. ‘No Tamil can expect a fair trial in Sri Lanka’
    Ratnarajah Thusiyanthan is a Canadian. He was working for a World Bank funded project in Colombo as an IT consultant. He is 35-years-old and from the
    Toronto area. He immigrated to Canada in 1989. He had temporarily left Canada in 2002 for Sri Lanka where he got married and had a child. He wants to come back to Canada with his family. Ratnarajah lived with his wife and his two-and-half year daughter. On April 29, he was arrested outside his workplace in Colombo and has been in prison ever since. He was among several arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as “draconian.” HRW has noted the Sri Lankan government uses emergency regulations to arrest and detain political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, and members of the Tamil minority community. Currently, there are no charges against him. http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/world.htm

  27. ‘No Tamil can expect a fair trial in Sri Lanka’
    Ratnarajah Thusiyanthan is a Canadian. He was working for a World Bank funded project in Colombo as an IT consultant. He is 35-years-old and from the
    Toronto area. He immigrated to Canada in 1989. He had temporarily left Canada in 2002 for Sri Lanka where he got married and had a child. He wants to come back to Canada with his family. Ratnarajah lived with his wife and his two-and-half year daughter. On April 29, he was arrested outside his workplace in Colombo and has been in prison ever since. He was among several arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as “draconian.” HRW has noted the Sri Lankan government uses emergency regulations to arrest and detain political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, and members of the Tamil minority community. Currently, there are no charges against him. http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/world.htm

  28. ‘No Tamil can expect a fair trial in Sri Lanka’
    Ratnarajah Thusiyanthan is a Canadian. He was working for a World Bank funded project in Colombo as an IT consultant. He is 35-years-old and from the
    Toronto area. He immigrated to Canada in 1989. He had temporarily left Canada in 2002 for Sri Lanka where he got married and had a child. He wants to come back to Canada with his family. Ratnarajah lived with his wife and his two-and-half year daughter. On April 29, he was arrested outside his workplace in Colombo and has been in prison ever since. He was among several arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as “draconian.” HRW has noted the Sri Lankan government uses emergency regulations to arrest and detain political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, and members of the Tamil minority community. Currently, there are no charges against him. http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/world.htm

  29. ‘No Tamil can expect a fair trial in Sri Lanka’
    Ratnarajah Thusiyanthan is a Canadian. He was working for a World Bank funded project in Colombo as an IT consultant. He is 35-years-old and from the
    Toronto area. He immigrated to Canada in 1989. He had temporarily left Canada in 2002 for Sri Lanka where he got married and had a child. He wants to come back to Canada with his family. Ratnarajah lived with his wife and his two-and-half year daughter. On April 29, he was arrested outside his workplace in Colombo and has been in prison ever since. He was among several arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as “draconian.” HRW has noted the Sri Lankan government uses emergency regulations to arrest and detain political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders, and members of the Tamil minority community. Currently, there are no charges against him.
    http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/world.htm

  30. Tissainayagam, Richard de Zoysa and Professor Rajiva Wijesinha http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/opnion-lea

    The ‘reaction’ cited below was published by you last week (September 13, 2009). It followed your reproduction of the statement made by Mr. Tissainayagam in court which handed down a sentence of 20 years hard labour on him. I quote verbatim:

    REACTION – Sinhala bloggers “In 1989, Tissainayagam translated some documents on the human rights violations of the regime for (now President) Mahinda Rajapakse, a key human rights activist of the day to be taken to Geneva. He was a hero then, but now a villain. Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”

  31. Tissainayagam, Richard de Zoysa and Professor Rajiva Wijesinha http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/opnion-lea

    The ‘reaction’ cited below was published by you last week (September 13, 2009). It followed your reproduction of the statement made by Mr. Tissainayagam in court which handed down a sentence of 20 years hard labour on him. I quote verbatim:

    REACTION – Sinhala bloggers “In 1989, Tissainayagam translated some documents on the human rights violations of the regime for (now President) Mahinda Rajapakse, a key human rights activist of the day to be taken to Geneva. He was a hero then, but now a villain. Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”

  32. Tissainayagam, Richard de Zoysa and Professor Rajiva Wijesinha http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/opnion-lea

    The ‘reaction’ cited below was published by you last week (September 13, 2009). It followed your reproduction of the statement made by Mr. Tissainayagam in court which handed down a sentence of 20 years hard labour on him. I quote verbatim:

    REACTION – Sinhala bloggers “In 1989, Tissainayagam translated some documents on the human rights violations of the regime for (now President) Mahinda Rajapakse, a key human rights activist of the day to be taken to Geneva. He was a hero then, but now a villain. Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”

  33. IN SRI LANKA,
    If you write the truth, 20 years in prison (Tissainayagam)
    If you tell the truth, expel from country. (UN Children’s Fund Spokesperson James Elder)

  34. Tissainayagam, Richard de Zoysa and Professor Rajiva Wijesinha
    http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090920/opnion-lead.HTM

    The ‘reaction’ cited below was published by you last week (September 13, 2009). It followed your reproduction of the statement made by Mr. Tissainayagam in court which handed down a sentence of 20 years hard labour on him. I quote verbatim:

    REACTION – Sinhala bloggers “In 1989, Tissainayagam translated some documents on the human rights violations of the regime for (now President) Mahinda Rajapakse, a key human rights activist of the day to be taken to Geneva. He was a hero then, but now a villain. Is this because then he was fighting for rights of the Sinhalese and now for Tamil rights?”

  35. IN SRI LANKA,
    If you write the truth, 20 years in prison (Tissainayagam)
    If you tell the truth, expel from country. (UN Children’s Fund Spokesperson James Elder)

  36. I do admire the PROFESSIONALISM of many journalists of the leading media AND THE EXPERTS who reviewed the GSP+ for Sri Lanka. The underestimation of the barbarism of Sri Lankan State Terrorism is also quite understandable since neither independent media nor independent aid agencies are allowed to the war zone even after many months of the "victorious ending " of the war. Knowing the environment of these journalists and experts, one cannot expect even their imaginative minds to extrapolate and reach the conditions in Sri Lanka unlike those of us who suffered at the hands of GOSL. So I salute the journalists and experts for saying the truth as they see it and my feelings are like the praise by Karl Marx of the British Professional Class of his times. I have reasons to believe that the Professional Class of UK in particular and the West in general continue to exercise their independence. BUT LIKE MARX, I am not an apologist of the RULING CIRCLES. For that matter, the ruling circles of Sri Lanka's new friends are no better. Who would expect China to follow Mao's Thinking? The Ruling circles of the world believe that the continuation of the PRESENT WORLD ORDER is in their interests AND DO NOT CARE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, NOR ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLES, and NOR ABOUT THE WORSENING PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT. The GSP+ was to have been reviewed long before the war against LTTE was scorching up BUT the ruling circles of Europe who preferred the destruction of the LTTE (not because it was a terrorist organization but because it was a liberation force) continued with the GSP+ PENDING REVIEW while banning the LTTE and coercing the Tamil Diaspora in so many ways. The story is same with all the Western governments. I know of a Foreign Minister who would not open his mouth against Sri Lanka but demanding that the Diaspora to restrain the LTTE! I will not be surprised if the GSP+ follows the same route as the IMF loan. Now what is happening in Sri Lanka is a scramble to share the spoils by the powers of the WORLD and IMF loans, GSP+ and the like are tools in this game. None of these powers are concerned about the human rights of the prisoners of war behind neither the barbed wires nor the Tamils living in the open prisons of the Tamil homeland

  37. The AIADMK(India) threatened to launch a mass agitation along with like-minded parties if the Union ( Indian) government failed to press the international community to force the Sri Lankan government to put an end to the (Human) rights violations against Tamils on its land.

    In a statement here, party general secretary J Jayalalithaa said that the AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu expect the Centre to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka.

    If the Centre does not act immediately, “the AIADMK, along with like-minded political parties, will be forced to launch a mass agitation to focus world vision on the brutal civil liberties violations in Sri Lanka.”

    The former chief minister said “The gruesome footage, reportedly filmed by a soldier on a mobile phone camera, reinforces my earlier claim that civil liberties are non-existent in Sri Lanka and that the Tamil population there is subject to barbaric atrocities at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army.”

    “Sri Lanka claims to be a democratic country, where the rule of law prevails. No democracy sanctions this sort of summary mass execution, where human dignity is wantonly trampled upon,” she added.

    “Even assuming that the persons being shot dead in the footage telecast were LTTE activists, executing them summarily without a trial is barbaric, inhuman and contrary to civilized norms. It also violates international law relating to treatment of prisoners of war.”

    Slamming the DMK government, she said “As such, the AIADMK does not expect the DMK government to even make a whimper of protest against the atrocities being perpetrated upon the Tamil people.”
    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Tit

  38. I do admire the PROFESSIONALISM of many journalists of the leading media AND THE EXPERTS who reviewed the GSP+ for Sri Lanka. The underestimation of the barbarism of Sri Lankan State Terrorism is also quite understandable since neither independent media nor independent aid agencies are allowed to the war zone even after many months of the “victorious ending ” of the war. Knowing the environment of these journalists and experts, one cannot expect even their imaginative minds to extrapolate and reach the conditions in Sri Lanka unlike those of us who suffered at the hands of GOSL. So I salute the journalists and experts for saying the truth as they see it and my feelings are like the praise by Karl Marx of the British Professional Class of his times. I have reasons to believe that the Professional Class of UK in particular and the West in general continue to exercise their independence. BUT LIKE MARX, I am not an apologist of the RULING CIRCLES. For that matter, the ruling circles of Sri Lanka’s new friends are no better. Who would expect China to follow Mao’s Thinking? The Ruling circles of the world believe that the continuation of the PRESENT WORLD ORDER is in their interests AND DO NOT CARE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, NOR ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLES, and NOR ABOUT THE WORSENING PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT. The GSP+ was to have been reviewed long before the war against LTTE was scorching up BUT the ruling circles of Europe who preferred the destruction of the LTTE (not because it was a terrorist organization but because it was a liberation force) continued with the GSP+ PENDING REVIEW while banning the LTTE and coercing the Tamil Diaspora in so many ways. The story is same with all the Western governments. I know of a Foreign Minister who would not open his mouth against Sri Lanka but demanding that the Diaspora to restrain the LTTE! I will not be surprised if the GSP+ follows the same route as the IMF loan. Now what is happening in Sri Lanka is a scramble to share the spoils by the powers of the WORLD and IMF loans, GSP+ and the like are tools in this game. None of these powers are concerned about the human rights of the prisoners of war behind neither the barbed wires nor the Tamils living in the open prisons of the Tamil homeland

  39. The AIADMK(India) threatened to launch a mass agitation along with like-minded parties if the Union ( Indian) government failed to press the international community to force the Sri Lankan government to put an end to the (Human) rights violations against Tamils on its land.

    In a statement here, party general secretary J Jayalalithaa said that the AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu expect the Centre to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka.

    If the Centre does not act immediately, “the AIADMK, along with like-minded political parties, will be forced to launch a mass agitation to focus world vision on the brutal civil liberties violations in Sri Lanka.”

    The former chief minister said “The gruesome footage, reportedly filmed by a soldier on a mobile phone camera, reinforces my earlier claim that civil liberties are non-existent in Sri Lanka and that the Tamil population there is subject to barbaric atrocities at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army.”

    “Sri Lanka claims to be a democratic country, where the rule of law prevails. No democracy sanctions this sort of summary mass execution, where human dignity is wantonly trampled upon,” she added.

    “Even assuming that the persons being shot dead in the footage telecast were LTTE activists, executing them summarily without a trial is barbaric, inhuman and contrary to civilized norms. It also violates international law relating to treatment of prisoners of war.”

    Slamming the DMK government, she said “As such, the AIADMK does not expect the DMK government to even make a whimper of protest against the atrocities being perpetrated upon the Tamil people.”
    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Tit

  40. The AIADMK(India) threatened to launch a mass agitation along with like-minded parties if the Union ( Indian) government failed to press the international community to force the Sri Lankan government to put an end to the (Human) rights violations against Tamils on its land.

    In a statement here, party general secretary J Jayalalithaa said that the AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu expect the Centre to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka.

    If the Centre does not act immediately, “the AIADMK, along with like-minded political parties, will be forced to launch a mass agitation to focus world vision on the brutal civil liberties violations in Sri Lanka.”

    The former chief minister said “The gruesome footage, reportedly filmed by a soldier on a mobile phone camera, reinforces my earlier claim that civil liberties are non-existent in Sri Lanka and that the Tamil population there is subject to barbaric atrocities at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army.”

    “Sri Lanka claims to be a democratic country, where the rule of law prevails. No democracy sanctions this sort of summary mass execution, where human dignity is wantonly trampled upon,” she added.

    “Even assuming that the persons being shot dead in the footage telecast were LTTE activists, executing them summarily without a trial is barbaric, inhuman and contrary to civilized norms. It also violates international law relating to treatment of prisoners of war.”

    Slamming the DMK government, she said “As such, the AIADMK does not expect the DMK government to even make a whimper of protest against the atrocities being perpetrated upon the Tamil people.”
    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Tit

  41. The AIADMK(India) threatened to launch a mass agitation along with like-minded parties if the Union ( Indian) government failed to press the international community to force the Sri Lankan government to put an end to the (Human) rights violations against Tamils on its land.

    In a statement here, party general secretary J Jayalalithaa said that the AIADMK and people of Tamil Nadu expect the Centre to raise its voice against the human rights violations in the refugee camps in Sri Lanka.

    If the Centre does not act immediately, “the AIADMK, along with like-minded political parties, will be forced to launch a mass agitation to focus world vision on the brutal civil liberties violations in Sri Lanka.”

    The former chief minister said “The gruesome footage, reportedly filmed by a soldier on a mobile phone camera, reinforces my earlier claim that civil liberties are non-existent in Sri Lanka and that the Tamil population there is subject to barbaric atrocities at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army.”

    “Sri Lanka claims to be a democratic country, where the rule of law prevails. No democracy sanctions this sort of summary mass execution, where human dignity is wantonly trampled upon,” she added.

    “Even assuming that the persons being shot dead in the footage telecast were LTTE activists, executing them summarily without a trial is barbaric, inhuman and contrary to civilized norms. It also violates international law relating to treatment of prisoners of war.”

    Slamming the DMK government, she said “As such, the AIADMK does not expect the DMK government to even make a whimper of protest against the atrocities being perpetrated upon the Tamil people.”

    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Jaya+threatens+massive+agitation&artid=ux2vdQtiHc4=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=EL7znOtxBM3qzgMyXZKtxw==&SEO=AIADMK+general+secretary+J+Jayalalithaa

  42. Lanka’s Mandela http://www.lankanewsweb.com/EN_Behind_the_scence/

    Both made it to the 20s. One was jailed for 27 years at Robben Island in South Africa and the other for 20 at Welikada in Sri Lanka. Nelson Mandela and J.S. Tissainayagam it could be argued were both jailed on similar grounds in similar circumstances – where regimes wary of the work they were involved in resorted to the easy way of silencing them by locking them up. Jayaprakash Tissainayagam many would say is no Nelson Mandela and they would most probably be right.

    But let’s not get wires crossed here – the comparison is strictly limited to the fact that both believed in a cause that was for the greater good of society and went about it in a non-violent way – Mandela against Apartheid and Tissainayagam against anti democratic methods being used by the regime in power; be it the UNP in ’88-89 or exactly 20 years later, the UPFA in ’08-09.

    From his childhood young Jayaprakash Tissainayagam showed signs of being different from the rest. He would stand up for what he believed was right and on many an occasion faced the wrath of the powers that be for his trouble.

    This is what Tissainayagam, after 520 days in prison had to say from the dock on the conclusion of his trial;

    “I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this… I always agitated against violence, fought for justice and for the oppressed.”

    Nelson Mandela concluded his statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the trial on April 20, 1964 at Pretoria Supreme Court, by saying;

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

  43. Seven media organizations have organized a protest to oppose the reactivation of the draconian Press Council and to agitate for the release of our colleague J.S. Tissainayagam who was branded a terrorist and sentenced for 20 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

    The protest is scheduled for September 29 at the Jayewardene Center, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07 (opposite Vihara Maha Devi Park) at 4 pm.

    The protest is expected to bring together a large gathering of journalists, civil society activists, political parties, artistes, religious leaders and civic minded citizens who wish to fight for a just and free society.

    The organizers have also made plans to initiate a people’s petition against the reactivation of the Press Council.

    The seven media organizations that have organized this event are The Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Federation of Media Employee's Trade Union, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, Free Media Movement and the National Forum of Journalists.

    Protest to oppose Tissainayagam’s arrest and reactivation of Press Council http://www.lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2009_09_26_00

  44. Lanka’s Mandela http://www.lankanewsweb.com/EN_Behind_the_scence/

    Both made it to the 20s. One was jailed for 27 years at Robben Island in South Africa and the other for 20 at Welikada in Sri Lanka. Nelson Mandela and J.S. Tissainayagam it could be argued were both jailed on similar grounds in similar circumstances – where regimes wary of the work they were involved in resorted to the easy way of silencing them by locking them up. Jayaprakash Tissainayagam many would say is no Nelson Mandela and they would most probably be right.

    But let’s not get wires crossed here – the comparison is strictly limited to the fact that both believed in a cause that was for the greater good of society and went about it in a non-violent way – Mandela against Apartheid and Tissainayagam against anti democratic methods being used by the regime in power; be it the UNP in ’88-89 or exactly 20 years later, the UPFA in ’08-09.

    From his childhood young Jayaprakash Tissainayagam showed signs of being different from the rest. He would stand up for what he believed was right and on many an occasion faced the wrath of the powers that be for his trouble.

    This is what Tissainayagam, after 520 days in prison had to say from the dock on the conclusion of his trial;

    “I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this… I always agitated against violence, fought for justice and for the oppressed.”

    Nelson Mandela concluded his statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the trial on April 20, 1964 at Pretoria Supreme Court, by saying;

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

  45. Lanka’s Mandela http://www.lankanewsweb.com/EN_Behind_the_scence/

    Both made it to the 20s. One was jailed for 27 years at Robben Island in South Africa and the other for 20 at Welikada in Sri Lanka. Nelson Mandela and J.S. Tissainayagam it could be argued were both jailed on similar grounds in similar circumstances – where regimes wary of the work they were involved in resorted to the easy way of silencing them by locking them up. Jayaprakash Tissainayagam many would say is no Nelson Mandela and they would most probably be right.

    But let’s not get wires crossed here – the comparison is strictly limited to the fact that both believed in a cause that was for the greater good of society and went about it in a non-violent way – Mandela against Apartheid and Tissainayagam against anti democratic methods being used by the regime in power; be it the UNP in ’88-89 or exactly 20 years later, the UPFA in ’08-09.

    From his childhood young Jayaprakash Tissainayagam showed signs of being different from the rest. He would stand up for what he believed was right and on many an occasion faced the wrath of the powers that be for his trouble.

    This is what Tissainayagam, after 520 days in prison had to say from the dock on the conclusion of his trial;

    “I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this… I always agitated against violence, fought for justice and for the oppressed.”

    Nelson Mandela concluded his statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the trial on April 20, 1964 at Pretoria Supreme Court, by saying;

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

  46. Seven media organizations have organized a protest to oppose the reactivation of the draconian Press Council and to agitate for the release of our colleague J.S. Tissainayagam who was branded a terrorist and sentenced for 20 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

    The protest is scheduled for September 29 at the Jayewardene Center, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07 (opposite Vihara Maha Devi Park) at 4 pm.

    The protest is expected to bring together a large gathering of journalists, civil society activists, political parties, artistes, religious leaders and civic minded citizens who wish to fight for a just and free society.

    The organizers have also made plans to initiate a people’s petition against the reactivation of the Press Council.

    The seven media organizations that have organized this event are The Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Federation of Media Employee's Trade Union, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, Free Media Movement and the National Forum of Journalists.

    Protest to oppose Tissainayagam’s arrest and reactivation of Press Council http://www.lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2009_09_26_00

  47. Seven media organizations have organized a protest to oppose the reactivation of the draconian Press Council and to agitate for the release of our colleague J.S. Tissainayagam who was branded a terrorist and sentenced for 20 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

    The protest is scheduled for September 29 at the Jayewardene Center, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07 (opposite Vihara Maha Devi Park) at 4 pm.

    The protest is expected to bring together a large gathering of journalists, civil society activists, political parties, artistes, religious leaders and civic minded citizens who wish to fight for a just and free society.

    The organizers have also made plans to initiate a people’s petition against the reactivation of the Press Council.

    The seven media organizations that have organized this event are The Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Federation of Media Employee's Trade Union, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, Free Media Movement and the National Forum of Journalists.

    Protest to oppose Tissainayagam’s arrest and reactivation of Press Council http://www.lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2009_09_26_00

  48. Lanka’s Mandela
    http://www.lankanewsweb.com/EN_Behind_the_scence/BTS_09_09_20_001.html

    Both made it to the 20s. One was jailed for 27 years at Robben Island in South Africa and the other for 20 at Welikada in Sri Lanka. Nelson Mandela and J.S. Tissainayagam it could be argued were both jailed on similar grounds in similar circumstances – where regimes wary of the work they were involved in resorted to the easy way of silencing them by locking them up. Jayaprakash Tissainayagam many would say is no Nelson Mandela and they would most probably be right.

    But let’s not get wires crossed here – the comparison is strictly limited to the fact that both believed in a cause that was for the greater good of society and went about it in a non-violent way – Mandela against Apartheid and Tissainayagam against anti democratic methods being used by the regime in power; be it the UNP in ’88-89 or exactly 20 years later, the UPFA in ’08-09.

    From his childhood young Jayaprakash Tissainayagam showed signs of being different from the rest. He would stand up for what he believed was right and on many an occasion faced the wrath of the powers that be for his trouble.

    This is what Tissainayagam, after 520 days in prison had to say from the dock on the conclusion of his trial;

    “I was and am still an advocate against terrorism. I have criticised terrorism in whatever form. I never advocated violence, my objective was to generate non violent means of resolving the conflict, my research, writings and work was towards achieving this… I always agitated against violence, fought for justice and for the oppressed.”

    Nelson Mandela concluded his statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the trial on April 20, 1964 at Pretoria Supreme Court, by saying;

    “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

  49. Seven media organizations have organized a protest to oppose the reactivation of the draconian Press Council and to agitate for the release of our colleague J.S. Tissainayagam who was branded a terrorist and sentenced for 20 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

    The protest is scheduled for September 29 at the Jayewardene Center, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07 (opposite Vihara Maha Devi Park) at 4 pm.

    The protest is expected to bring together a large gathering of journalists, civil society activists, political parties, artistes, religious leaders and civic minded citizens who wish to fight for a just and free society.

    The organizers have also made plans to initiate a people’s petition against the reactivation of the Press Council.

    The seven media organizations that have organized this event are The Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, Federation of Media Employee’s Trade Union, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, Free Media Movement and the National Forum of Journalists.

    Protest to oppose Tissainayagam’s arrest and reactivation of Press Council
    http://www.lankanewsweb.com/news/EN_2009_09_26_002.html

  50. Tissainayagam, a prisoner of conscience – paper, Amnesty
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 27 September 2009, 15:48 GMT]
    Arrested without a warrant, incarcerated without detention order, refused to see a lawyer for more than two weeks after arrest, denied privacy of conversation with his attorney and his wife while under detention, and held without charge for more than 5 months, and now sentenced by Sri Lanka's high court for 20 years in prison, Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, a Sri Lanka's Tamil journalist, "became a symbol of [Sri Lanka] government repression and a martyr for freedom of the press. To many observers, Tissainayagam’s treatment cemented Sri Lanka’s reputation as a totalitarian state in the making," Sunday Leader said in its weekend edition. Tissainayagam was chosen by President Obama as an emblematic example of persecuted journalists. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  51. Tissainayagam, a prisoner of conscience – paper, Amnesty
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 27 September 2009, 15:48 GMT]
    Arrested without a warrant, incarcerated without detention order, refused to see a lawyer for more than two weeks after arrest, denied privacy of conversation with his attorney and his wife while under detention, and held without charge for more than 5 months, and now sentenced by Sri Lanka's high court for 20 years in prison, Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, a Sri Lanka's Tamil journalist, "became a symbol of [Sri Lanka] government repression and a martyr for freedom of the press. To many observers, Tissainayagam’s treatment cemented Sri Lanka’s reputation as a totalitarian state in the making," Sunday Leader said in its weekend edition. Tissainayagam was chosen by President Obama as an emblematic example of persecuted journalists. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  52. Tissainayagam, a prisoner of conscience – paper, Amnesty
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 27 September 2009, 15:48 GMT]
    Arrested without a warrant, incarcerated without detention order, refused to see a lawyer for more than two weeks after arrest, denied privacy of conversation with his attorney and his wife while under detention, and held without charge for more than 5 months, and now sentenced by Sri Lanka's high court for 20 years in prison, Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, a Sri Lanka's Tamil journalist, "became a symbol of [Sri Lanka] government repression and a martyr for freedom of the press. To many observers, Tissainayagam’s treatment cemented Sri Lanka’s reputation as a totalitarian state in the making," Sunday Leader said in its weekend edition. Tissainayagam was chosen by President Obama as an emblematic example of persecuted journalists. http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&art

  53. Tissainayagam, a prisoner of conscience – paper, Amnesty
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 27 September 2009, 15:48 GMT]
    Arrested without a warrant, incarcerated without detention order, refused to see a lawyer for more than two weeks after arrest, denied privacy of conversation with his attorney and his wife while under detention, and held without charge for more than 5 months, and now sentenced by Sri Lanka’s high court for 20 years in prison, Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, a Sri Lanka’s Tamil journalist, “became a symbol of [Sri Lanka] government repression and a martyr for freedom of the press. To many observers, Tissainayagam’s treatment cemented Sri Lanka’s reputation as a totalitarian state in the making,” Sunday Leader said in its weekend edition. Tissainayagam was chosen by President Obama as an emblematic example of persecuted journalists.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30328

  54. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins press freedom defenders in Sri Lanka in calling on President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka to put an immediate end to the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalism in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lankan Government Must Reverse Anti-Media Actions http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/sri-lankan

  55. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins press freedom defenders in Sri Lanka in calling on President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka to put an immediate end to the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalism in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lankan Government Must Reverse Anti-Media Actions http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/sri-lankan

  56. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins press freedom defenders in Sri Lanka in calling on President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka to put an immediate end to the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalism in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lankan Government Must Reverse Anti-Media Actions http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/sri-lankan

  57. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins press freedom defenders in Sri Lanka in calling on President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka to put an immediate end to the climate of impunity that has allowed a long campaign of intimidation and violence against independent journalism in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lankan Government Must Reverse Anti-Media Actions
    http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/sri-lankan-government-must-reverse-anti-media-actions

  58. I'd ask that people commenting in this discussion stay on the original topic at hand, which is here J.S. Tissainayagam. The discussion about GSP+ is not relevant, as an example. Thanks for your consideration.

  59. I’d ask that people commenting in this discussion stay on the original topic at hand, which is here J.S. Tissainayagam. The discussion about GSP+ is not relevant, as an example. Thanks for your consideration.

  60. AI & Free Speech – odd lack of consistency.

    AI's position on free speech is clearly stated thus:

    "[is]…based on international human rights standards. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states, in Article 19, that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression, but that certain restrictions may be placed on that right if they are necessary for the respect of the rights of others; Article 20 states that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."

    AI used the above reasoning to justify their unwillingness to defend David Irving from imprisonment in Austria on charges of Holocaust Denial.

    If Tissanayagam's writings promoted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, as probhibited by AI's own Int'l Human Rights Standards, why is AI defending Tissanayagam?

    No one, (not even LTTE supporters) is denying that Tissanayagam was a pro-LTTE writer. Given that the LTTE's entire raison-d'etre was based on "advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred" I'm interested in AI's response.

    My own view is: the war is over and nothing is gained by keeping Tissa imprisoned. In fact it only hurts the SL govt position.

    I look forward to AI's response.

  61. AI & Free Speech – odd lack of consistency.

    AI’s position on free speech is clearly stated thus:

    “[is]…based on international human rights standards. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states, in Article 19, that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression, but that certain restrictions may be placed on that right if they are necessary for the respect of the rights of others; Article 20 states that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”

    AI used the above reasoning to justify their unwillingness to defend David Irving from imprisonment in Austria on charges of Holocaust Denial.

    If Tissanayagam’s writings promoted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, as probhibited by AI’s own Int’l Human Rights Standards, why is AI defending Tissanayagam?

    No one, (not even LTTE supporters) is denying that Tissanayagam was a pro-LTTE writer. Given that the LTTE’s entire raison-d’etre was based on “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred” I’m interested in AI’s response.

    My own view is: the war is over and nothing is gained by keeping Tissa imprisoned. In fact it only hurts the SL govt position.

    I look forward to AI’s response.

  62. In response to Mango's comment of Oct. 5, 1:16 P.M., I'd make the following points:
    1. The argument in the comment assumes that the two articles written by Tissainayagam and which were one of the subjects of his indictment "promoted incitement to hostility, discrimination or violence."
    2. I'd suggest that those interested obtain the court judgment to determine the actual verdict; I'm not certain whether the court reached exactly the conclusion as stated in the comment.
    3. Assuming for the moment that the comment's description of the court judgment is substantially accurate, I'd suggest that those interested review the Trial Observation Report issued by the International Commission of Jurists in connection with this case (and available on their website). The Report describes how witnesses presented by the defense testified that the two articles in question would not incite violence, and that these witnesses' testimony was not refuted by the prosecution. It is unclear to me on what basis the court based its conclusion and decided, among other things, to disregard the testimony of the defense witnesses. If anyone knows of an online link to the judgment, I'd appreciate hearing of it.
    4. Separately from this case, there is reason to be concerned about whether the judiciary in Sri Lanka is independent of the executive branch. I'd suggest that those interested review reports on this topic: one issued in May by the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (available on their website) and another issued on June 30 by the International Crisis Group (available on their website). Further, the Asian Human Rights Commission has issued numerous public statements concerning the collapse of the rule of law in Sri Lanka, which are available on their website.
    5. AI does not accept the assertions made by the prosecution in this case and believes that the case was brought, not because the government thought that the articles in question "promoted incitement to hostility, discrimination or violence," but in order to silencing dissenting voices in the Sri Lankan media (see the AI report entitled "Silencing dissent" which is available on the AIUSA website).

  63. Such a sorry saga … The government continues to intimidate and prosecute the journalists in Sri Lanka.

    Its latest victim is a Tamil, J.S. Tissainayagam, the editor of news web site OutreachSL, who recently was jailed to 20 years in prison under anti-terrorism laws for criticizing the government.

    In my opinion, this harsh sentence came from the Sri Lanka President Mahinda’s Office – not from the court.

    The furore distracts attention from the core issue of the 300 000 internees in the concentration camps.

    Just what did Tissainayagam write?

    In July 2006 he wrote in North Eastern Monthly “Providing security to Tamils now will define northeastern politics of the future it is fairly obvious that the Government is not going to offer them any protection. I
    n fact it is the state security forces that are the main perpetrator of the killings”.

    In November 2006 he wrote “With no military options Government buys time by offering watered-down devolution. Such offensives against the civilians are accompanied by attempts to starve the population by refusing them food as well as medicines and fuel”.

    20 years imprisonment for this?
    For these 2 articles?

    But then Tissainayagam is a Tamil and as the recently retired Chief Justice after a visit to the camps said “(minority) Tamils will not receive protection in Sri Lanka”

  64. In response to Mango’s comment of Oct. 5, 1:16 P.M., I’d make the following points:
    1. The argument in the comment assumes that the two articles written by Tissainayagam and which were one of the subjects of his indictment “promoted incitement to hostility, discrimination or violence.”
    2. I’d suggest that those interested obtain the court judgment to determine the actual verdict; I’m not certain whether the court reached exactly the conclusion as stated in the comment.
    3. Assuming for the moment that the comment’s description of the court judgment is substantially accurate, I’d suggest that those interested review the Trial Observation Report issued by the International Commission of Jurists in connection with this case (and available on their website). The Report describes how witnesses presented by the defense testified that the two articles in question would not incite violence, and that these witnesses’ testimony was not refuted by the prosecution. It is unclear to me on what basis the court based its conclusion and decided, among other things, to disregard the testimony of the defense witnesses. If anyone knows of an online link to the judgment, I’d appreciate hearing of it.
    4. Separately from this case, there is reason to be concerned about whether the judiciary in Sri Lanka is independent of the executive branch. I’d suggest that those interested review reports on this topic: one issued in May by the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (available on their website) and another issued on June 30 by the International Crisis Group (available on their website). Further, the Asian Human Rights Commission has issued numerous public statements concerning the collapse of the rule of law in Sri Lanka, which are available on their website.
    5. AI does not accept the assertions made by the prosecution in this case and believes that the case was brought, not because the government thought that the articles in question “promoted incitement to hostility, discrimination or violence,” but in order to silencing dissenting voices in the Sri Lankan media (see the AI report entitled “Silencing dissent” which is available on the AIUSA website).

  65. Such a sorry saga … The government continues to intimidate and prosecute the journalists in Sri Lanka.

    Its latest victim is a Tamil, J.S. Tissainayagam, the editor of news web site OutreachSL, who recently was jailed to 20 years in prison under anti-terrorism laws for criticizing the government.

    In my opinion, this harsh sentence came from the Sri Lanka President Mahinda’s Office – not from the court.

    The furore distracts attention from the core issue of the 300 000 internees in the concentration camps.

    Just what did Tissainayagam write?

    In July 2006 he wrote in North Eastern Monthly “Providing security to Tamils now will define northeastern politics of the future it is fairly obvious that the Government is not going to offer them any protection. I
    n fact it is the state security forces that are the main perpetrator of the killings”.

    In November 2006 he wrote “With no military options Government buys time by offering watered-down devolution. Such offensives against the civilians are accompanied by attempts to starve the population by refusing them food as well as medicines and fuel”.

    20 years imprisonment for this?
    For these 2 articles?

    But then Tissainayagam is a Tamil and as the recently retired Chief Justice after a visit to the camps said “(minority) Tamils will not receive protection in Sri Lanka”

  66. Pingback: Sri Lankan journalist granted bail | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog