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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Detained Tamil publisher is freed

By Saroj Pathirana
BBC Sinhala

Mr Jaseeharan (l) was freed but with Mr Tissainayagam (r) was sentenced in August
Mr Jaseeharan (l) is free but Mr Tissainayagam (r) is serving a jail term

A court in Sri Lanka has released the Tamil publisher of a monthly magazine after he was detained under anti-terrorism laws in March 2008.

Vetrivel Jaseeharan who published North Eastern Monthly, and his wife Vadivel Valarmathi, were charged with conspiracy to discredit the government.

But a court in Colombo said charges would be dropped as the magazine's editor had already been found guilty.

JS Tissainayagam was sentenced to 20 years in prison in August 2009.

He was found guilty of "causing communal disharmony".

The world's largest organisation of journalists, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the judgement - which also sentenced him to hard labour while in prison.

The court added that the defendants' only offence was to publish articles written by Mr Tissainayagam.

The lawyer for the publishers, KV Thavarasa, told the BBC Sinhala service that the judge noted that there were some doubts over whether the alleged confession by Mr Jaseeharan was voluntary.



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