Sri Lankan Tamil editor arrested: police

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

February 26, 2009 (AFP) – A Tamil newspaper editor was arrested in Sri Lanka’s capital Thursday, police said, after colleagues and family members complained that he had been abducted while attending a funeral. Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Ranjith Gunasekara said N. Vidyatharan was taken in for questioning by the police crime division in connection with activities linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers.

However, the state-run Daily News quoted had earlier quoted Gunasekara as saying that the editor had been “abducted” by unidentified persons driving an unmarked white van.

Family members said three armed men dressed in police uniforms grabbed Vidyatharan, chief editor of the Sudaroli and Uthayan newspapers, while he attended the funeral of a relative in Mount Lavinia, a suburb of the capital.

“The three men in uniform tried to grab Vidyatharan. He resisted and the other mourners at the funeral started shouting, but they dragged him on the floor and took him away in a van,” the relative said.

Vidyatharan’s newspapers have been staunchly critical of the military campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels, who are cornered in the northeast of the island.