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Discharge of magazine publisher and partner welcomed

(IFJ/IFEX) - October 27, 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes a decision by a court in Sri Lanka to order the release of magazine publisher Vetrivel Jasiharan and his partner Vadivel Vallarmathy, after 19 months' detention on charges of terrorism.

Yesterday's summary judicial order discharging Jasiharan and Vallarmarthy was issued after the state attorney reportedly informed the court that there was no evidence linking them with any terrorist act or organisation.

Jasiharan and Vallarmathy were arrested by Sri Lankan police from their office premises in March 2008. Jasiharan was the owner of OutreachSL.com, a website edited by J.S. Tissainayagam.

The day following the arrest of Jasiharan and Vallarmathy, Tissainayagam was taken into custody when he went to the police station to inquire about his colleagues.

In August 2008, charges were laid separately against Jasiharan and Vallarmathy on one side, and Tissainayagam on the other, under Sri Lanka's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Tissainayagam was convicted on August 31 this year. His conviction is currently under appeal.

"The IFJ welcomes this judicial order and wishes Jasiharan and Vallarmathy the peace and quiet they need after 19 months' detention," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

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