A police CID new investigation has been launched into the murder of Sunday Leader founder/former editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.
By Siva Sivapragasam
Police Media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana speaking at a media briefing confirmed that a new police investigation has been launched into the brutal murder of former Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge. He announced that the investigation has been handed over to the CID by the Police.
Meanwhile he had also stated that one of the suspects arrested during the previous investigation had died in prison while the other has been released on bail.
It has been over six years since Lasantha was murdered. During a remembrance vigil held this year Lasantha’s brother vigil held this year Lasantha’s brother Lal Wickrematunge called upon the newly elected government to hold a fresh investigation into his murder.
Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge (5 April 1958 – 8 January 2009) was a high-profile Sri Lankan anti-government Journalist, Politician and Human Rights Activist who was assassinated in January 2009.
Wickrematunge was the founder of The Sunday Leader and Leader Publications alongside his brother and was known for taking “governments of all hues to task”, was a “virulent critic of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government”, and had been “locked in a legal battle with the president’s brother, defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was spearheading the battle against the LTTE rebels.
Wickrematunge assassination caused a national frenzy being the country’s most influential media personnel and one of the biggest political figures and raised questions about freedom of expression in the country. Wickrematunge murder was widely condemned across the world. The Daily Mirror called it the “biggest blow” to media freedom in Sri Lanka and the Editors Guild held the government responsible for the killing as it has failed to stop attacks against media personnel. The government also expressed shock at the killing, pledging to do everything in its power to catch his killers.
Wickrematunge had been on Amnesty International’s endangered list since 1998, when anti-tank shells were fired on his house. Despite intense media pressure, no one has been arrested as of January 2014, and Sri Lankan media speculate that the murder investigation may “end up as a cover-up”, and that safeguards for an independent media appears bleak.
In an editorial Wickrematunge had written shortly before his death, and that was published posthumously, he stated, “When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.” (Input: Wikipedia )