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Online TV journalist arrested, tortured, accused of being "Maoist courier"

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF calls on the central government to shed light on the reasons for the arrest of Pittala Srisailam, editor of the online television station Musi TV ( ), on 4 December 2007, in the eastern state of Andhra Pradesh. Accused of being a Maoist "courier", Srisailam was going to interview one of the leaders of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) when he was arrested.

Srisailam was interrogated for 30 hours before being formally placed under arrest. In the course of his transfer from Ongol prison to Nellore prison in Andhra Pradesh, he told journalists: "I was kidnapped by police and wrongly implicated as a Maoist courier. I was also tortured by the police in custody to make me confess to things I am not aware of. I have no connections whatsoever with the Maoists and was there only for an interview as a part of my job as a journalist."

His family and colleagues have met with Andhra Pradesh interior minister Jana Reddy, but nothing has so far come of the meeting. Musi TV supports separate statehood for Telangana, the northwestern half of Andhra Pradesh state. It posts videos of pro-Telangana meetings, unrest and local news on its website. The Hyderabad police recently threatened Srisailam with the "worst consequences" if he continued to work for the station.

To sign an online petition to the Indian government calling for Srisailam's release, go to:

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