Sri Lanka media rights body concerned over journalist arrests

Mar 09, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement (FMM) expressed concern over the arrest of several journalists connected to a news website and called on authorities to follow due process. “The right to retain lawyers at police stations while statements are being recorded and their right to inform family and colleagues as to where they are being questioned are basic rules that have to be followed,” the FMM said in a statement.

“We note that these rights are violated more often than not.

“Maintaining that until proven in a court of law, anyone arrested is innocent and has to be treated as such, the FMM stands for the rights of these writers and journalists and by them as citizens of this country.”

The rights body said several journalists were taken in for questioning by the Terrorist Investigations Department (TID) on March 7 and 8 and “held incommunicado” for hours.

Most of the journalists arrested were associated with www.outreachsl.com, a news and features web site.

FMM said on March 6, the owner of E-Kwality printing press and writer N. Jasiharan was arrested with his partner Valarmathi without a valid reason.

Jasiharan’s laptop and printed material at