Leaked emails from President’s counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya which are in Colombo Telegraph‘s possession suggest that the Rajapaksa regime tried to use Lasantha Wickrematunge murder investigation for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2010 presidential election campaign.
At the end of 2009 presidential election campaign Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder was being exploited by both presidential candidates, with Rajapaksa and Fonseka trading accusations at each other. The Rajapaksa camp through Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Rome, President’s counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya reached out to those close to Wickrematunge including his second wife Sonali Samarasinghe, the Colombo Telegraph learns.
Leaked emails from Hemantha Waranakulasuriya show that he tried to get an official request for an “impartial and thorough investigation” into the death of Lasantha from Lasantha’s family.
After eleven months of the murder, on December 13, 2009, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya wrote to Sonali Samarasinghe; “if you are interested I will do everything possible to bring the murderers to book. If you so wish even I could request the government to have an independent commission comprising of Supreme Court judges or even an international tribunal. But first there must a through investigation by the police. but I need your formal request or approval “
Why did the Rajapaksa regime after eleven months wake up and find that the time is ‘ripe’ for an inquiry into Lasantha’s murder. Was it any less ripe immediately following the brutal assassination?
What the present Regime and the Rajapaksas thought of Lasantha Wickrematunge at the time was abundantly clear. When interviewed by the BBC in the aftermath of the murder, Gotabaya Rajapaksa President Rajapaksa’s brother and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence giggled into the cameras and asked with derision ‘who is Lasantha?”, “why should we care of (sic) him”.
Why did the Rajapaksa regime want an official request from the family of Wickrematunge at that stage when it ignored all its entreaties for an independent international inquiry for one year. Surely a democratic government under the Rule of Law needs no prompting to initiate an independent inquiry into a brutal murder.
As Colombo Telegraph has exposed President Mahinda Rajapaksa telling Lal Wickrematunge three times that his brother Lasantha was killed by Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka. If the former Army General was involved in Lasantha’s murder, one may wonder why he was not prosecuted?
That leads to the belief that President Rajapaksa knows who murdered Lasantha. That would also mean that Rajapaksa, in his function as Minister of Defence, knows who committed murder. If this is the case, why doesn’t he inform [the Criminal Investigation Department] and provide evidence?
We published below the email exchange in full;
Hemantha to Sonali
Hemantha Warne < Email address edited out by CT >
I belive you will be surprised to receive this mail from me. I think the time is ripe to make an impartial and thorough investigation into the death of my friend Lasantha.
I belive I could help you to uncover this bruthal killing. If you are interested and has no other reason not to do so. Please give me your telephone number so that I could contact you
Sonali to Hemantha
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 09:35:56 -0500
From: sonali. [ Email edited out by CT ]
To: [ Email edited out by CT ]
Many thanks for the note. Yes I agree. However it is my own feeling that the time was no less ripe than it is now for an impartial and thorough investigation into my husband’s death on January 8, 2009 no sooner than when he was murdered.
Assuming (some may call it a misplaced assumption) we live in a civilised society, when is it ever not the time to uncover a crime?
I said as much in my publicised letters to both the then IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne and to President Rajapakse immediately after the murder.
Having said that it is also never too late to bring murderers to book.
I welcome any help when it comes to uncovering the brutal murder of my husband.
My telephone number is [ edited out by CT ]
Thank you again
Hemantha to Sonali
On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 4:43 AM, Hemantha Warne < Email edited out by CT > wrote:
I was trying t o contact you over the phone and left a message in your voice mail. I will be going to Sri Lanka very soon if you are interested I will do everything possible to bring the murderers to book. If you so wish even I could request the government to have an independent commission comprising of Supreme Court judges or even an international tribunal. But first there must a through investigation by the police. but I need your formal rfequest or apporval
Sonali to Hemantha
On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 8:41 AM, Sonali Wickrematunge <sonali. Email edited out by CT > wrote:
ok noted thanks
Sonali to Hemantha
From: Sonali Wickrematunge sonali. [ Email edited out by CT ]
Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 11:35 PM
Subject: Re: lasantha
To: Hemantha Warne < Email edited out by CT >
Thank you for your offer to initiate an inquiry with regard to Lasantha’s murder. While I do not know who killed him, I am satisfied that the government did everything possible to cover up his murder and prevent even a rudimentary police inquiry from proceeding. There can be only one reason why they did this: to prevent those who murdered Lasantha, and those who ordered his murder, from ever being brought to justice. It is no secret that Lasantha too, was fully aware who his killer would be. I already wrote to the IGP earlier this year asking him to initiate a proper inquiry into the murder, but all my request attracted was cheap ridicule from his spokesman at a press conference. No number of Supreme Court judges or international tribunals can make a difference (you yourself saw what happened in the case of the commission of inquiry into the Muttur masacre) if the government and the police cover up the evidence or make a mockery of the judicial process. This is exactly what has happened in Lasantha’s case, where the police are treating the fellow who stole Lasantha’s phone as a murder suspect. So I see no value in your intervention in this matter, for you and I both know who was behind Lasantha’s murder, as did Lasantha himself. Besides, the president too claimed to be a friend of Lasantha’s and to be shocked by his murder. In the aftermath of the killing, he loudly and publicly promised a swift and thorough inquiry. However, for reasons you can only guess at, but which Lasantha himself predicted, no such inquiry took place. There is probably no point therefore in an intervention by you, as well meaning and sincere as you obviously are as a friend and colleague of Lasantha’s and indeed of mine. But nevertheless, thank you for your offer.
I will always welcome a proper inquiry.Surely a democratic government under the Rule of Law needs no prompting to initiate an independent inquiry into a brutal murder.
But thank you again and I will keep you informed of any developments