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Associate editor of Tamil newspaper stabbed

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 28 January 2008 FMM press release:

Associate Editor of Tamil newspaper stabbed

28th January 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) is shocked and dismayed to report another stabbing of a journalist. This is the second violent attack with deadly intent against a journalist reported within a week.

The associate editor of the state-controlled Tamil daily "Thinakaran", Suhaib M Kasim, was stabbed at his home in Colombo around 8:30 p.m. (local time) on 28 January 2008. He was admitted to Colombo national hospital for treatment. Five people entered his house, forcibly took him to the veranda, and stabbed him in the abdomen, his wife told FMM.

The Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited transferred Kasim from his post of associate editor on Saturday 26 January. Kasim had received death threats related to this transfer, close colleagues of his told the FMM. According to his family and colleagues he didn't have any other problems that could have led to this incident.

This incident once again demonstrates the vulnerability of journalists in Sri Lanka in a highly militarized society. Acts of violence against journalists now occur regularly and with complete impunity.

We request that the police conduct an urgent and open investigation into this incident and apprehend the attackers. We hope that unlike in the case of Hemantha Mawalage, the journalist from the state-owned television broadcaster Rupavahini who was stabbed earlier in the week, the police don't just arrest arbitrary characters and produce them in a court of law.

The FMM urges all those who criticise media and journalists in Sri Lanka to accept the right to hold differing and critical opinions and insist that the manner in which differences are resolved be non-violent. This is a cornerstone of a civil democracy, as is a free media, both of which are eroding rapidly in Sri Lanka.

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