AI appeal for Tissainayagam

15 May 2008

SRI LANKA Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam (m), journalist

Journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam (J. S.) Tissainayagam was
granted access to an eye specialist on 9 May. The specialist
has said that his condition needs m onitoring and he needs
new glasses because the conditions of his eyes have changed.
The specialist needs to see him again in a month to reassess
his condition. J. S. Tissainayagam was also granted access
to his lawyer on 14 May, for the first time since 21 March.

J. S. Tissainayagam however remains in Terrorist
Investigation Division (TID) detention in Colombo, where he
is being held without charge. He was supposed to be brought
before a court on 12 May, in compliance with the Sri Lankan
Emergency Regulations which require detainees to be brought
in front of a court once a month. However this was
postponed with no reason being given and the magistrate
reportedly stated that he should be produced in court on 14
May. He was not brought to court on that day and the
magistrate reportedly ordered that he appear in court on 23

Amnesty International also understands that there is little
ventilation in the cell where J. S. Tissainayagam is being
detained due to the air conditioning breaking down, so
detention conditions are extremely uncomfortable due to the

Amnesty International is alarmed by a number of recent
attacks and other violations of the human rights of media
workers, which follow the pattern outlined in its recent
report ‘Sri Lanka: Silencing Dissent’ (ASA 37/001/2008, 7
February 2008). Journalists and other media workers have
been detained for long periods of time without charge on
previous occasions. On 21 November 2006, Parameshwari
Munusamy, a Tamil woman journalist with the Sinhalese
newspaper Mawbima, was arrested by Special Task Force (STF)
personnel and detained at TID headquarters under the
Emergency Regulations on suspicion of having links with the
LTTE. At the time of her arrest, she was not told details of
the grounds and legal basis she was held under. Detained
without charge for four months, she was released on 22 March
2007. Her family weas also reportedly assaulted at their
home on 14 March 2008, by intruders who forcibly entered
their home, causing serious injuries to her father and
sister. There have been a number of attacks and arbitrary
arrests of media workers in the last few weeks including
Gayan Lasantha Ranga, Udayen and Kithsiri Wijesinghe, all
contributors to the website The three
were reportedly released on 18 March after being held in TID
detention without charge for a number of days.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
– welcoming reports that J. S. Tissainayagam was granted
access to an eye specialist on 9 May and access to his
lawyer on 14 May;
– expressing concern that J. S. Tissainayagam is being
detained without charge by the Terrorist Investigation
Division (TID) in Colombo, apparently to prevent him from
peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression
through his media work;
– calling on the authorities to ensure that J.S.
Tissainayagam is not tortured or ill-treated, and that he is
allowed unrestricted access to his family, a lawyer of his
choice, an independent court and any specialist medical
treatment he may require;
– urging the authorities to release J. S. Tissainayagam
immediately and unconditionally, unless he is to be charged
with a recognizably criminal offence and remanded by an
independent court;
– calling on the authorities to ensure that there is
sufficient ventilation in the cell where he is being

His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1
Fax:       &nbs p;   011 94 11 2446657
Salutation: Your Excellency

Hon. Amarasiri Dodangoda
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice and Law Reforms
Superior Courts Complex,
Colombo 12
Fax:           011 94 11 2445447
Salutation: Dear Minister

Ambassador Bernard A.B. Goonetilleke
Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
2148 Wyoming Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax:          1 202 232 7181