Court frees incarcerated journalist
M Parameshwari, the young Sri Lankan newspaper reporter of Indian origin, who had been in jail for the past four months for being a suspected terrorist, was released on Thursday, after the state counsel told the Supreme Court that no charges could be filed against her.
Parameshwari's release was hailed by the Free Media Movement (FMM) as a "resounding victory for truth and justice".
Political circles consider the timing of her release as being significant. It has occurred when the UN Human Rights Council is in session in Geneva and where, it is feared, Sri Lanka may come in for censure.
Arrested on November 21, 2006 in Colombo, allegedly for being a companion of a suspected LTTE suicide bomber, Parameshwari was working for the Sinhala daily Mawbima with which the dissident and subsequently sacked cabinet minister Mangala Samaraweera was associated.
The accounts of the business enterprise which was funding Mawbima were frozen.
The FMM and other media organisations, both in Sri Lanka and abroad, vigorously campaigned for Parameshwari's release as she was being detained without any charge.
She became a centre of a political campaign by pro-government elements to discredit journalists and muzzle opponents.
"She was subject to, and a victim of, a persistent campaign of hate by government ministers, select media and ultra nationalist voices who blatantly paraded lies and baseless allegations in a reprehensible attempt to mould public opinion against her," the FMM said in a statement.