For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Raisa Wickrematunge
Senior journalist J. S Tissainayagam remains incognito – hiding in a safe house, despite a Presidential pardon, according to close family members.
Tissainayagam’s father Martin Jayaratnam Tissainayagam told The Sunday Leader that his son was not staying with them. “His lawyers don’t want him speaking to anyone. He is under protection, though he has been pardoned,” Tissainayagam Snr. said. He added “We ourselves haven’t seen him for some time.”
Tissainayagam’s wife, Ronnate, is currently overseas – and could not be contacted for comment.
In parliament on Tuesday, several MPs commended the decision made by the President. Some said that the reason for the delay in issuing the pardon was due to Tissa lodging an appeal against his conviction.
Tissainayagam was sentenced to 20 years Rigorous Imprisonment on August 31, 2009. Convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the harsh Supreme Court decision had many media organisations calling for his release. Tissainayagam was convicted of inciting communal disharmony by printing, editing and circulating a magazine called North Eastern Monthly. Arrested and jailed since March 2008, he was released on bail in January this year.