16 January 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 09/27/2016, 10.28

    SRI LANKA

    Body of the journalist killed for criticizing government to be exhumed



    Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed in 2009 in broad daylight on his way to work. He had been a stalwart critic of the corruption of the government led by President Rajapaksa, human rights violations and the war against the Tamil Tigers. His tomb is guarded, to prevent retaliation of his killers who are still at large.


     

    Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed in 2009 in broad daylight on his way to work. He had been a stalwart critic of the corruption of the government led by President Rajapaksa, human rights violations and the war against the Tamil Tigers. His tomb is guarded, to prevent retaliation of his killers who are still at large.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - A court in Sri Lanka has decided to exhume the body of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, killed in 2009 for his critical stance against the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The decision may help turn the new investigation into his murder, since the first autopsy had shown conflicting results.

    Wickrematunge was the editor of the "Sunday Leader" and was killed on 8 January 2009 by two strangers on his way to work. The newspaper had criticized the government for widespread corruption, the war against the Tamil Tigers and the violations of human rights. Just three days before his assassination he had written an editorial in which he stated he knew that he would be killed shortly by the government, and that any investigation into his murder would be inconclusive.

    After his death, journalists, media professionals and the public had protested against the government, accusing it of collusion with the killers and threatening press freedom in the country. Wickrematunge also posthumously received the World Press Freedom Prize awarded by UNESCO to those who are fighting for the freedom of press and expression.

    In 2014 the Ministry of Defence, headed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (brother of President Mahinda), issued a circular in which it banned non-governmental organizations from holding press conferences, workshops, training courses for journalists. The move was opposed by all the local organizations, which termed it as an attempt to silence activists and journalists.

    In January 2015, when Maithripala Sirisena was elected to the presidency, he promised to reform media legislation and to reopen the investigation into the journalist's death. A first turning point came in July this year, when one person connected to the murder of Wickrematunge was arrested.

    Since the Sri Lankan court issued the decision to exhume the body, the director’s grave has been guarded round the clock  by security forces to prevent any retaliation by his killers who are still at large.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    13/01/2010 SRI LANKA
    No justice for Lasantha, a year after the journalist’s murder
    Lasantha was assassinated in his car in broad daylight on 8 January 2009. A year later, hundreds of journalists gather to remember him and slam the government for its inaction in tracking down the culprits. In Sri Lanka, tens of journalists have been assaulted or forced to flee the country.

    13/01/2009 SRI LANKA
    Strong anti-government protests at funeral of journalist murdered in Colombo
    More than 8000 people take part in the funeral of Lasantha Manilal Wickramatunga, editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper. “Waves of anger, fear and desperation” are sweeping “across the country,” says Colombo bishop. Everyone wants to know who is behind the murder. President Rajapaksa blames international elements for the assassination, claiming that it was carried out to eclipse the country’s military victories against Tamil Tigers.

    26/11/2007 SRI LANKA
    “Continuing trend” towards stifling free media
    Following an arson attack against the offices of Leader publications, which puts out papers critical of the government, Bishop Duleep De Chickera releases special communiqué. He appeals to all religious leaders not to remain silent and defends freedom of expression as necessary for the well-being of democracy.

    10/07/2009 SRI LANKA
    Meeting for Freedom and democracy in Sri Lanka six months after journalist assassinated
    Some 300 people gather in Colombo’s New Town Hall to remember Lasantha Wickramathunga and protest against the lack of freedom of expression in the country. Since 2007 10 journalists have been assassinated, 27 assaulted, 11 imprisoned and six abducted.

    23/12/2011 SRI LANKA
    Commission of inquiry defends Rajapaksa against UN
    The report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission set up by President Rajapaksa to investigate the final phase (2002-2009) of the civil war is a response to a UN report that accused the government of war crimes. For a Christian activist, it is necessary to break with the past to promote Tamil-Sinhalese reconciliation.



    Editor's choices

    KOREA
    North Korea will send a high-level Olympic delegation to Pyeongchang



    After two years of tensions, the first meeting between delegations from North and South Korea. Seoul proposes that North and South athletes march side by side in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games (February 9-25, 2018).


    VATICAN
    Pope: respect for the rights of persons and nations essential for peace



    In his address to diplomats, Francis asks for the solution to conflicts - starting with Syria - and tensions - from Korea to Ukraine, Yemen, South Sudan and Venezuela - and augurs that migrants and the "discarded" be welcomed, like unborn children and the elderly and respect for freedom of religion and opinion, the right to work.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®