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Proofreader of persecuted newspaper feared abducted

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is an FMM press release:

Proofreader of "Uthayan" newspaper missing, feared abducted

It has been reported to FMM that Mr. Vadivel Nimalarajah, proofreader for the Jaffna-based "Uthayan" newspaper, has been missing since 17 November 2007. He has worked with "Uthayan" for three years as a night-shift proofreader.

According to FMM safety network sources in Jaffna, Nimalarajah was bicycling home when he was abducted by an unidentified group near Navalar Road railway crossing around 7:30 a.m. He is 31 years old, unmarried and lives in Jaffna.

His mother and brother have lodged a complaint at the Humans Rights Commission office in Jaffna.

FMM condemns this dastardly act and requests that whoever kidnapped Nimalarajah release him immediately. "Uthayan" management believes that he is being held in the offices of one of the paramilitary groups in Jaffna and that immediate action by the government may save his life.

"Uthayan" has come under tremendous pressure since 2006 from government security forces and pro-government paramilitary groups for its Tamil nationalist editorial position. It offices have been fired upon, its computers destroyed, its newsprint stores set on fire, and three of its staff shot dead. The editor of "Uthayan", Mr. Kanamailnathan, has been living in the newspaper's offices for over a year and his news editor, Mr.G. Kuganathan, has lived there for over six months for fear of going out.

FMM is outraged that this provincial newspaper, which has been under continuous threat and harassment, has been targeted again. FMM urges the government to take immediate action to save the life of Nimalarajah and to bring the culprits to justice.

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