Sri Lanka detains French TV crew

Dec 25, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka detained two foreign television journalists and 11 locals from a Tamil family they were filming in the island’s south, police said Tuesday.

The two-member crew of France 24 were detained overnight at Ratgama, 105 kilometres (65 miles) south of the capital, after they were taken into custody by the military on Monday evening, a police official in the area said.

He said the duo were taken Tuesday before a judge who ordered that they be handed over to the police Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) for further investigations.

Sri Lanka’s independent Free Media Movement (FMM) said they wanted the crew released immediately and accused the authorities of overreacting and suppressing the right to information.

A female journalist and TV cameraman from France 24 were filming a Tamil family visiting their detained relatives on Christmas Eve, the FMM said.

Police said they detained the two foreign nationals as well as 11 Tamils and their driver after the cameraman was accused of filming a military checkpoint outside the Boosa detention centre.

“This is another instance of the authorities overreacting on the people’s ri