Sri Lanka - Tamil journalist killed in bombardment amounting to "war crime"



    MONTREAL, Feb. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today
expressed revulsion at the death of a Tamil journalist in a Sri Lankan Army
bombardment on the north of the country, which it described as a "war crime".
    Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy was killed during an air raid on 12 February
on Thevipuram, Mullaithivu district in the region of Vanni, being fought over
by the army and rebel Tamil Tigers (LTTE). He had recently filed news of the
plight of civilians in the latest wave of fighting.
    "Army air strikes and artillery fire on areas where there are tens of
thousands of civilians, including Tamil journalists, are war crimes" the
worldwide press freedom organisation said.
    "The death of Sathyamurthy shows the extent to which witnesses to the
military offensive have no protection. We call on the international community
to secure a ceasefire to save the lives of these civilians," it added.
    Based in Vanni, controlled until recently by the LTTE, he worked with a
number of Tamil media, mainly in Canada. One of his colleagues told Reporters
Without Borders that he "cared passionately about the plight of the Tamil
people and was not afraid of anything.(...) We cannot rule out that he was
deliberately targeted", he added.
    The journalist had worked for five years for Canadian Tamil Radio,
Canadian Multicultural Radio and Tamil Vision International television, all
based in Canada. His articles were regularly carried by websites and media of
the Tamil diaspora.
    He was born in 1972 in the Polanaruva district and lived at Mandatheevu.
He entered journalism after studying political science at the University of
Jaffna.
    He was married and was the father of a six year old girl. Colleagues held
a memorial gathering for him in Toronto, Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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