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Poobalasingam Book Depot manager arrested for distributing Tamil magazine

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of the manager of the Poobalasingam Book Depot bookshop in Colombo, who was arrested by anti-terrorism police at his home in the Colombo suburb of Wellawatte on 5 March 2009 for sending copies of "Ananda Vikadan", a Tamil weekly magazine published in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, to another branch of the same bookshop in Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka.

The manager, identified only by the name of Sritharasing, was arrested after the copies of the magazine were examined by police at Colombo's Ratmalana airport, who decided the issue was supportive of the Tamil armed separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), because it included articles and photos of a recent LTTE air strike on Colombo.

Sritharasing is being held at a police station in Mount Lavinia, to the south of Colombo. The Poobalasingam Book Depot bookshops, which are very popular among Sri Lanka's Tamil population, have been importing and distributing "Ananda Vikadan" for more than 30 years.

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