US condemns attacks on Maldivian journalists

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 09:50 hrs

Colombo, Feb 24 (IANS) The US Sunday condemned the attacks on Maldivian journalists after three of them were attacked in capital Male.

The US embassy here urged Maldivians to refrain from violence, and asked protesters and police to respect the right of all media outlets who cover demonstrations or other public events, reported Xinhua.

"Freedom of expression is a fundamental democratic right, and we strongly condemn these attacks," the embassy said.

Three journalists were attacked in Male Friday night. One of them is said to be in critical condition, the Maldivian Journalists Association said.

Raajje TV journalist Ibrahim Waheed was attacked near 'Artificial Beach' with an iron rod by an unidentified man.

He received serious head injuries and was flown to Sri Lanka Saturday for urgent medical treatment, officials said.

Meanwhile, Maldives media reported that during an opposition Maldivian Democratic Party protest Friday, two state television journalists were injured when a packet filled with paint thinner was thrown at them from the crowd. Both suffered serious body and facial injuries.

President Mohammed Hassan Waheed has condemned the attacks.

Former Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed, who left the Indian High Commission Saturday after seeking asylum inside the premises for 11 days, also condemned the attacks.

He called upon authorities to conduct a "swift and thorough investigation" to bring the perpetrators to justice, regardless of their political affiliation.

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