FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SRI LANKA

For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

6th Death Anniversary Of D. Sivaram

By Abdul H. Azeez

As the sixth death anniversary of slain journalist Darmaretnam Sivaram approached on April 28 there were fresh calls to bring his killers to justice. He was abducted on April 28, 2005 and his body was found dumped a day later in Kotte, in a high security zone near the parliament complex.
The Colombo High Court decided to re-open the case in March, after five years. It subsequently scheduled a hearing on June 28 at the request of the chief suspect who wanted a Sinhala speaking jury.  The suspect, Arumugam Sri Skandharajah also known as Peter, was identified by police as a member of the armed wing of the Tamil militant group turned political party PLOTE. He was later released on bail.
Sivaram, 46, also known by his pseudonym Taraki, was a well-known columnist for the Daily Mirror and a senior editorial board member of the online news service, TamilNet, known for its strong pro-LTTE slant. According to eyewitness quoted by Tamil media he was abducted in Bambalapitiya and spirited away in a car. Police found his bullet ridden body the next morning dumped in a paddy field close to parliament, located within the perimeters of a High Security Zone.
Sivaram was said to have an analytical mind and an extensive knowledge of politics and war. He was also called a ‘terrorist journalist’ by the Jathika Hela Urumaya due to his work for TamilNet
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