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  • Pardon of J.S. Tissainayagam is Positive Step for Sri Lanka

    Last week President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka issued a full pardon to J.S. Tissainayagam, a Tamil journalist who had spent 21 months in detention for his conviction under Sri Lankan anti-terrorism laws for criticizing the actions by the Sri Lankan army during the civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE).  It is a welcome sign for Sri Lanka.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists and prominent U.S. Senators had expressed their concern about Mr. Tissainayagam’s detention. In response to Tissainayagam’s pardon, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar said, “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.” The victory over the Tamil Tigers has given new hope for Sri Lankan development and relations with the U.S.; however, concerns about human rights during the last stages of the civil war, a lack of press freedoms, and increased government control still worry those following Sri Lankan affairs.

    In light of these issues and to increase Sri Lanka’s international engagement, Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris came through Washington in late May. During his trip, including a meeting at the Heritage Foundation, Foreign Minister Peiris was asked several questions about the lack of a full pardon for J.S. Tissainayagam.  It appears this pressure finally helped spur the Sri Lankan government to make the right move by pardoning Tissainayagam.

    With the civil war over, the U.S. has an opportunity to encourage democracy and development in Sri Lanka, an island nation strategically located in the Indian Ocean, and that is rapidly cultivating closer ties to China.  But to avoid squandering this historic opportunity, Sri Lanka must build on the positive momentum presented by the pardon of Tissainayagam to demonstrate its full commitment to fostering national reconciliation in the post-war environment.

    Co-authored by Lisa Curtis and Nicholas Hamisevicz

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Pardon of J.S. Tissainayagam is Positive Step for Sri Lanka

    1. Arunan says:

      Sri Lanka govt. has not yet published any sort of official detail of the terms of the pardon. The fact that journalist J.S. Tissainayagam remains silent also indicates that he may be fearful and/or concerned about the safety of his and much of the extended family members back in Sri Lanka.

      Govt. Sri Lanka still has not done anything with regards to the killers of Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga, murdered during broad daylight in a high security area pf Colombo.

      The fearful atmosphere for journalists, with killings and forced into exile are continuing to be put forward by the powerful Presidential sibling Sri Lankan Defence Secretary on the media, even as recently as June 2010 in BBC HARDtalk.

      All this is made possible for the Sri Lankan state that has embraced Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism steadfastly.

      Tyrannical support from China and to considerable extent from Russia too are the unfavorable combination with Sri Lanka's Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism that spells disaster for democratic norms and pluralism of Sri Lanka, and a dent in the geo political standing of nations that uphold humanitarian norms and dignity in the region.

    2. Mano says:

      This hilarious?? What is there to Pardon? The case against him was very thin in the first place. There is absolutely no press freedom in Sri Lanka.

    3. pasel says:

      Is Positive Step for Sri Lanka Pardon of J.S. Tissainayagam?

      NO !!!!!

      This is gimmick to cover up the war crime ,human rights abuse and media freedom.

      Why did they arrest Tisss?

      Did they find the Lasantha's killer?

      Refuse to work with the UN investigation Committee?

      Refuse to work with EU to get GSP+

      Why didn't settle IDP? according to the gov still 80,000 in camps

      No INGOs allowed in the war torn part of the country

      according to sl gov 11000, LTTE still government custody and What is their future why didn't take them to court?

      Entire Rajapaksa family control the government like CUBA and Libya

      also visit to this link

      http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/06/27/%E2%80%9
      “We Will Not Tolerate An Infringement Of Our Sovereignty” – Keheliya Rambukwella

      Q: What is your response to journalist J. S. Tissainayagam having left the country and arrived in the US following a presidential pardon?

      A: It is his freedom of movement. His right to exercise where he chooses to live in future.

      Q: But isn’t this a telling reflection on your government that so many journalists have been compelled to leave this country and seek refuge elsewhere?

      A: I can give you some examples of how some people who worked with INGOs made use of the time to move out of the country. When they saw the tail end of the war, they wanted to make a destructive move and left the country.

    4. sfernando says:

      facts are, j. s, tissainayagam, is a vicious supporter of tamil tiger terrorists who was paid to propagate their racist ideology and hate and slandered innocent people with no facts to back his claims . read what he wrote . (just 1eg. did anyone starve to death, as he claimed sri lankan government intended for tamils in north ?)

      he also collected info and money for the terrorists , evidence in the form of bank transfer records and phone records were presented at court. he had ( foreign ngo paid ) legal representation in open court . his conviction was just .

      this pardon is a political act forced on sri lankan government, to appease the despicable and unjust interferences of west's 'useful idiots' of terrorists in sri lanka .

      when are we sri lankans and our children who were maimed and killed by the people tissainayagam supported going get justice when foreigners interfere set free criminals ?

      as for totally unsubstantiated slanderous hateful claims made in other comments (approved!) it is not even worth the while to refute them yet again

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