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Tamil journalist brought before Mullativiu court after Sri Lankan navy complaint

A court in Mullaitivu resumed its trial of Tamil Guardian correspondent Shanmugam Thavaseelan on Tuesday, following a resurgence of attacks on Tamil journalists by Sri Lanka’s security forces. 

Thavaseelan was originally arrested by Sri Lankan police on trumped-up charges in April after a navy officer from the ‘Gotabaya’ camp claimed he had been assaulted by the journalist. 

Witnesses state that the navy officer had been threatening and photographing protesters at the disappearances rally that Thavaseelan had been covering at the time. The prominent Mullaitivu-based journalist was subsequently arrested and brought before the courts who postponed his trial.

Highlighting recent cases of attacks against journalists, including two Tamil Guardian correspondents, RSF called on the Sri Lankan authorities to punish those responsible for the acts of violence and to stop police intimidation and harassment of Tamil journalists earlier this year.

Photograph: Thavaseelan accompanied by Sri Lankan police. April 20, 2019 

Last year, Thavaseelan was once more held by Sri Lankan security forces, whilst he was reporting on the army’s plans to appropriate land in Mullaitivu last month.