Interrogation revealed that he had served 10 years in a Sri Lankan jail after arrested for drug trafficking. The seized drug was worth Rs. 50 lakh in the international market. Balan who arrived at Madurai by flight from Colombo on May 24 was helped by a local Tamil to stay in the Avanathankottai village. The police identified the accused as T. Gowri Balan (43) of Paranthan in Kilinochchi. He had received the drug from a smuggler in Bangalore early this month and reached Danushkodi before staying at Avanathankottai near Aranthangi for a week. Acting on the directions of Sivadoss and Baskaran, drug traffickers in Sri Lanka, he went to Bangalore and collected the contraband from a smuggler from Mumbai.Balan, who was overstaying after his visa expired on June 29, told the police that he was engaged by the smugglers for a payment of Rs. 1.5 lakh. India’s Ramanathapuram district unit of Organised Crime Intelligence (OCI) arrested a Sri Lankan Tamil, who was a members of the now-defunct People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), when he attempted to smuggle 500 gm of heroin near Kothandaramar temple in Danushkodi.Acting on a tip-off, two teams from the unit detained him when he was waiting at the shore to hand over the contraband to a boatman to smuggle it to Sri Lanka, The Hindu newspaper reported.
“I am deeply disturbed by the killing of this journalist,” said Gyorgy Busztin, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, in a statement today. “Such an act appears to be part of a growing pattern of threats, intimidation and violence directed against journalists and other media professionals carrying out their duties in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” he added. According to UN Iraq, the body of Widad Hussein Ali, a freelance reporter and news website journalist, was found hours after the abduction, unconscious on the side of a road with severe head injuries, bruising and other serious wounds that displayed strong signs of severe beatings and other forms of ill-treatment. Mr. Ali’s died at the hospital and a police investigation was immediately launched into murder. “Such incidents threaten the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to seek, impart and receive information which are fundamental to a democratic State,” stressed Mr. Busztin, who called upon the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to ensure that the crime was “urgently and thoroughly investigated” and that the perpetrators were held accountable according to the law. “A space for open debate and freedom of expression in the Kurdistan Region will only be maintained if justice is done and security measures are in place to safeguard all media professionals,” underscored Mr. Busztin. “I urge the Kurdistan Regional authorities to promote a safe and enabling environment for all journalists to perform their work independently and without interference.”