J.S. Tissainayagam is a journalist who wrote magazine articles critical of the government. Now he faces 20 years in jail. He was arrested on Mar. 7, 2008, and was convicted on Aug. 31, 2009, of causing ethnic disharmony and for collecting money for the purpose of furthering terrorism. He became the first person to be sentenced under Sri Lanka’s terrorism laws explicitly because of his writing.
How Tissainayagam’s journalistic work translated into offenses punishable under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations has been difficult for many Sri Lankans, journalists in particular, to understand. The International Commission of Jurists released a report last week that might clear up some of the details.