By Colombo Telegraph –
President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Lal Wickrematunge three times that his brother Lasantha, the founding editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper who was assassinated in January 2009 was killed by Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, exiled Sri Lankan Journalist Uvindu Kurukulasuriya told UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay in London yesterday.
Pillay who delivered a lecture at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on Friday on the Freedom of Expression and Hate Speech: What International Human Rights Law Says was informed of this publicly by Kurukulasuriya following her speech.
Kurukulasuriya said that Lal Wickrematunge had informed him that President Rajapaksa had divulged Fonseka’s hand in Lasantha’s murder three times and he had responded that if so, why the former Army General was not being prosecuted if that was the case. He said Lal Wickrematunge had wanted this conveyed to the UN Human Rights Commissioner when it was possible.
Pillay responded that she gets thousands and thousands of complaints and is very concerned about human rights defenders. “Legitimate speech is threatened by certain governments and we are looking for measures to expose these practices and find solutions,” the UN High Commissioner said.
Refering to yesterdays shooting she said;”that is clearly an extreme form of repression of freedom of speech”
Sunday Leader Journalist Faraz Shaukatally was shot by an unidentified group last night. He was admitted to the Kalubowila hospital.
Later at the dinner, Uvindu handed over a copy of Lal Wickrematunge’s letter to Navi Pillay for further investigation, the Colombo Telegraph learns.
Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed on the way to work on January 8, 2009 in Colombo. His killers were never apprehended.
Last month Uvindu wrote for Lasantha’s fourth death anniversary; “Two weeks ago when I interviewed Ranil Wickremasinghe he confirmed what he said at Lasantha’s funeral. He re-confirmed that the killers were four army persons. But in my opinion, even if Fonseka is responsible for the Lasantha killing what are the steps the other two people above him have taken so far? The President himself is the Minister of Defence, His brother Gotabaya is the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, both positioned above Fonseka. Killing Lasantha cannot be one of Fonseka’s own decisions. He may have deployed the killers but killing such a high profile journalist is a political decision. That is why nothing is happening about his killing, I am forced to conclude.”