A special unit that functioned under former Director of Army Intelligence, Major General Kapila Hendawitharana has been linked to the murder of Sunday Leader founder editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the CID told the Mount Lavinia Magistrate today when the case of the slain editor was taken up this morning.
According to the CID, Major General Hendawitharana’s unit has also been connected to several assaults of other journalists during the previous government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The CID informed the magistrate that they made this discovery during the investigations into Wickrematunge’s murder. The CID also told Court that Wickrematunge had died from an assault to his head, not shooting and the CID said that the latest postmortem results indicate that Wickrematunge died after a sharp instrument was inserted in his head and pulled out.
In January, the CID questioned Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who is a minister in this government, for five hours over the murder. During the interrogation, Fonseka who was also accused of playing a part in Wickrematunge’s murder had gone onto accuse former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the main culprit behind the assassination of the senior journalist, who was seen as a strong critic of the Rajapaksa administration.
In November, the Colombo Telegraph reveled how a leaked State Intelligence Service document showed that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered surveillance of the Sunday Leader Editor’s mobile phone, just weeks before he was murdered.
In October, following pressure from President Maithripala Sirisena, who launched a verbal attack against the arresting and remanding of army intelligence officers, the Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammed Shahabdeen released on bail Army Intelligence Officer Premananda Udalagama despite his alleged involvement in Wickrematunge’s murder.