Journalists Killed in 2009 - Motive Confirmed: Lasantha Wickramatunga
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||January 2010|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 2009 - Motive Confirmed: Lasantha Wickramatunga, January 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e6496992.html [accessed 1 July 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The Sunday Leader
January 8, 2009, in an area outside Colombo, Sri Lanka
Eight helmeted men on four motorcycles forced Wickramatunga's car to the side of a busy street outside Colombo and beat him with iron bars and wooden poles. He died in a local hospital a few hours later.
Wickramatunga, editor-in-chief of the weekly The Sunday Leader, was a prominent senior Sri Lankan journalist known for his critical reporting on the government. According to his brother, Lal Wickramatunga, chairman of the paper's parent company, Leader Publications, the editor had received anonymous death threats for months.
Lasantha Wickramatunga's wife, Sonali Samarasinghe-Wickramatunga, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the couple had been followed by two men on a motorcycle as they ran errands earlier that morning. Samarasinghe-Wickramatunga left Sri Lanka shortly after her husband's death. The couple had married only two weeks before.
Wickramatunga foresaw his own murder. In an editorial written shortly before his death and published three days after the murder, he said: "Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened, and killed. It has been my honor to belong to all those categories and now especially the last."
|Beats Covered:||Human Rights, Politics, War|
|Local or Foreign:||Local|
|Type of Death:||Murder|
|Suspected Source of Fire:||Government Officials|