President Barack Obama recently cited the courageous work of Sri Lanka journalist JS Tissainayagam as an example of a man who fought for human rights. The Sri Lanka journalist got in trouble with his government when he cited evidence that food had been withheld from Tamils during the recently concluded civil war in order to crush their spirits. He was sentenced to a jail term of 20 years for violating the Prevention of Terrorism act which makes it a crime to forment “communal violence.” It is estimated at least 14 Sri Lanka journalists have died during the past three years and dozens have fled their homeland to prevent being arrested.
What then does the world do about such cases? President Obama made a speech, there will be protests, but will anything change in the increasingly authoritarian nation of Sri Lanka? Most probably this is an excellent time to impose sanctions since Sri Lanka needs trade.
Perhaps, the Sri Lanka government can secure advice from former vice president Dick Cheney who believes fervently in any Prevention of Terrorism Act. He IS an expert of waterboarding!