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FMM condemns arrest of journalist Ruwan Weerakoon

(FMM/IFEX) - 17 March 2010 - FMM condemns the arrest of defense correspondent Ruwan Weerakoon by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) a few days ago and demands his immediate release. Ruwan Weerakoon works for "The Nation" and the "Bottom Line" newspapers in Colombo and Asia Tribune website. As a defense correspondent, journalist Ruwan Weerakoon had a close association with General (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka during the last phase of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and it was reported that because of this association he received death threats from a navy commander in early 2009. FMM believes that the arrest of Ruwan Weerakoon, which seems to be a politically motivated victimization, is a direct result of his journalism practice.

FMM requests that the Inspector General of Police disclose the reasons behind the arrest and detention of Ruwan Weerakoon and make arrangements for him to receive legal aid immediately, if the TID intends to keep him in detention.

It was just a month ago that President Mahinda Rajapaksha ordered police to inform him before arresting any media personnel. FMM would like to know whether that procedure was followed in arresting Ruwan Weerakoon and whether presidential consent was obtained for the arrest.
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