US welcome Tissainayagam's release
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, Ranking
Member Dick Lugar and Subcommittee Chairman on Near Eastern and South
and Central Asian Affairs Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., today welcomed
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's decision to pardon journalist
J.S. Tissainayagam, who had been convicted last year and sentenced to 20
years of hard labour. "I welcome President Rajapaksa's pardon and I hope
it will be part of a process to restore an independent press to Sri
Lanka that can write and report without fear of intimidation or
persecution," said Chairman Kerry.
"I hope this action by President Rajapaksa signals an improvement in
conditions for all journalists in Sri Lanka and will be a tangible step
to bring about national reconciliation in the aftermath of the country's
long and bitter civil war," said Ranking Member Lugar.
I welcome Tissainayagam's release and hope that it signals that
fundamental press freedoms will be respected in Sri Lanka," said Senator
The Sri Lankan Government announced in May 2010, that Tissainayagam,
who spent 21 months in detention, would be granted a full pardon. Last
week, the pardon was issued and he was allowed to leave the country.