Maunasámi, a freelance reporter who wrote about the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for the Sinhala-language weekly Mawbima, was detained at her residence at a boarding house in Wellawatta, south of the capital Colombo, according to the Colombo-based media advocacy group Free Media Movement. Police detained Maunasámi, who is an ethnic Tamil, along with another Tamil woman living at the boarding house and transferred them to the Terrorist Investigation Division, police told FMM.
Sri Lankan authorities have not given a reason for the journalist’s detention. She was held under anti-terrorist legislation that allows prolonged detention without charge or trial. Local Sinhala-language newspaper reports linked her arrest to the confiscation of ammunition, but police said that no ammunition was recovered by any police station, according to FMM.
Mawbima has distinguished itself among Sinhala-language newspapers for an editorial line that is critical of both Sri Lankan military and LTTE actions, said FMM spokesperson Sunanda Deshapriya. Maunasámi’s colleagues at Mawbima expressed concern about her detention and believe she may have been targeted