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SL arrests editor over military rift story

A Sri Lankan editor was arrested for reporting on an alleged rift between a senior military commander and the government after the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, police and his newspaper said.

world Updated: Oct 18, 2009 23:11 IST

A Sri Lankan editor was arrested for reporting on an alleged rift between a senior military commander and the government after the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, police and his newspaper said on Sunday.

Chandana Sirimalwatte was held for questioning after police raided the offices of his "Lanka" newspaper, a spokesman for the paper said.

Police spokesman Nimal Mediwaka confirmed that the editor was arrested on Saturday, but declined to say why he was taken in.

The newspaper, which is closely linked to the opposition JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said Sirimalwatte had been questioned about a story in Friday's edition.

The paper had alleged there were attempts to discredit Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka, who played a key role in the military's victory over Tamil rebels in May, after he reportedly refused to accept a civilian job.

There is no official censorship in Sri Lanka, but many mainstream media organisations practise self-censorship fearing reprisals from the authorities.

Tamil editor JS Tissainayagam was sentenced in August to 20 years of hard labour on charges of supporting terrorism, sparking protests from the US government and the European Union.