01/10/2017, 16.43
SRI LANKA

Colombo: eight years after his murder, no justice for Christian journalist

Melani Manel Perera

Wickremetunge Lasantha was murdered in broad daylight on his way to work in 2009. He was the editor of the Sunday Leader newspaper. He had criticised former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has always denied any involvement in his death.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – After eight years, the investigation into the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge has gone nowhere and his family is still waiting for justice.

Killed in broad daylight on his way to work, the high-profile Christian journalist was the editor of the newspaper Sunday Leader. From its pages, he harshly criticised former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has always denied any involvement in the assassination.

Upon taking office, President Maithripala Sirisena reopened the case. However, the journalist's family has lamented the absence of any tangible results. Its attorney, Athula S Ranagala, said that the investigation has stalled.

On Sunday, family, friends, and some politicians met to commemorate his death, which has not yet been vindicated. For Prof Sarath Wijesooriya, the government’s quest for justice has not gone very far. “There is an invisible power, blocking its rightful end,” he noted.

For the occasion, the dead journalist’s brother Lal Wickremetunge wrote a letter. Since he is overseas, it was read by his daughter Raisa.

In it, he notes that today Sri Lanka is a better place to practice journalism, but the past should not be forgotten or revisited.

Recently, he noted, the media were informed of the existence of phone conversations between Lal Lasantha and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But their content has not been released.

Sandhaya Eknaligoda was present at the memorial service. She is the wife of Prageeth Eknaligoda, a reporter and cartoonist who has been missing since January 2010.

She does not know about his fate, and so believes that she does not have the right to commemorate him. For her, "To commemorate Lasantha, one can light a candle or bring a flower. But I do not know where to bring a flower or light a candle as I do not know what happened to Prageeth”.

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