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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 16:47 GMT
Sri Lankan journalist released
Maunasami Parameswaree
Ms Parameswaree was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
A Tamil journalist detained for more than four months in Sri Lanka without charge has been set free.

The Supreme Court ordered the release of Maunasami Parameswaree on Wednesday after she had petitioned it.

The authorities said Ms Parameswaree had close links with the Tamil Tigers. She says they produced no evidence to support their claim.

Media groups say Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to work in.

'Suicide bomber'

Ms Parameswaree told the BBC Sinhala service that the police had been unable to find any evidence against her.

Sri Lankan journalists protest in Colombo
Journalists say they are working under constant threat

She said she did not know what had happened to another woman arrested with her.

She said she had been arrested in November when she went to interview a woman who said her brother had been abducted.

"I informed the authorities that I was meeting this woman. Then they arrested me and her. The police say that she is a suicide bomber of the Tamil Tigers.

"I had no connection or friendship with her. I just went to get the story," Ms Parameswaree said.

She was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. She works for the Sinhalese-language newspaper Mawbima (Motherland).

The media group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hailed the release of Ms Parameswaree and called on the Sri Lankan authorities to release another media figure.

"It is worth reminding the government after this ruling that Dushantha Basnayake, the financial director of Standard Newspapers Private Limited (SNPL), the group that publishes Mawbima, is also being held under this anti-terrorism law," RSF said.

"He should be freed at once."

Harmful consequences

Nine journalists have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past 15 months, media groups say.

"The dormant war between security forces and the Tamil Tigers has had harmful consequences for the safety of journalists, particularly Tamils," RSF said in its assessment of Sri Lanka in 2006.

"Murders, arrests, threats and bombings have again become the daily lot for many reporters, particularly in the north and east of the country."

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