Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sri Lankans arrest UK news team

  • A British Channel 4 News team has been arrested in Sri Lanka after reporting allegations of abuse in camps for displaced Tamils.
  • The Sri Lankan Defence Minister ordered Asia correspondent Nick Paton-Walsh, cameraman Matt Jasper and producer Bessie Du to leave the country.
  • Mr Paton-Walsh said the crew was being driven to Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, with a police escort.


  • Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera told reporters the trio were arrested in the eastern city of Trincomalee on Saturday. He said investigations were continuing.

  • The Channel 4 team had been covering fighting between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

  • Its report looked at the conditions in camps that had been set up by the government for the refugees who had fled the northern war zone.

  • It explored allegations of sexual abuse as well as shortages of food and water.

  • The United Nations estimates that about 50,000 civilians are trapped by fighting as government troops attempt to oust the Tamil Tigers from their strongholds across the north.

  • The rebels have been driven back into a small pocket of land on the north-eastern coast.

  • The Tamil Tigers have fought for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority since 1983. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the war.

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