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Thursday, 24 June 2010

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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 Casey.

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. (US)

 

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