Sri Lanka Police exhume journalist’s body in murder he predicted
Sri Lankan Police on Tuesday exhumed the body of a senior journalist who had predicted just days before his murder in 2009 that he would be killed by the government, marking the latest development in a series of probes into former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration. Lasantha Wickrematunga, an outspoken editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper, often clashed with politicians. Rajapaksa’s brother, then defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had sued him for defamation over stories criticising the country’s civil war and alleging procurement graft.
In his last editorial just before the murder, Wickrematunga had written that he had reason to believe that attacks against the media at the time were inspired by the government.
“When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me,” he wrote before three days he was killed. Wickrematunga was killed while sitting in a car stuck in rush hour traffic in a high security zone near the capital, Colombo. Human rights groups said the Rajapaksa regime failed to probe his murder. Wickrematunga’s death was one of several highprofile killings under the Rajapaksa government and is one of the many investigations re-opened by President Maithripala Sirisena into his predecessor’s administration. Sirisena ousted Rajapaksa in January 2015. Rajapaksa and several members of his family now face probes into alleged misappropriation of state resources.