Sri Lanka: Journalist J.S Tissainayagam pardoned


English PEN warmly welcomes the announcement that on 3 May 2010 – World Press Freedom Day – Tamil journalist Jayaprakash Sittampalam (J. S.) Tissainayagam received a presidential pardon. J.S. Tissainayagam was detained in March 2008 and sentenced to twenty years in prison for his critical writings. He was released on bail on 11 January 2010 pending appeal.

On 31 August 2009 a High Court in Sri Lanka sentenced J. S. Tissainayagam to twenty years’ imprisonment with hard labour under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), for “causing communal disharmony” in his articles published in 2006 by the magazine North-Eastern Monthly. He was also found guilty of raising funds to publish the magazine. An allegedly forced confession made by Tissainayagam while in police custody was used as evidence to convict him. Following widespread international pressure J. S. Tissainayagam was granted release on bail pending appeal on 11 January 2010. The announcement that he had been pardoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa was timed to coincide with World Press Freedom Day (3 May). 

Thank you to all who sent appeals on this case. No further action is required.


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