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U.S. welcomes pardoning of Sri Lanka journalist

[Reuters, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 12:55 No Comment]

The United States Tuesday welcomed Sri Lanka’s decision to pardon a journalist convicted under the powerful wartime emergency law that has been relaxed to boost investment.

Tamil journalist J.S. Tissanayagam, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail on charges of conspiracy and violating emergency regulations, was granted a presidential pardon Monday.

"It is fitting that the announcement came on World Press Freedom Day, which celebrates the vital role a free media plays in every democracy," a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Colombo said.

Rights groups and Western nations had criticized Sri Lanka for using emergency laws to control the media after Tissanayagam was arrested for criticizing the government’s military offensive during the start of the final phase of a 25-year war.

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