Friday, January 9, 2009

Assassination of Sunday Leader editor: Heinous crime committed to damage social fabric and bring disrepute to the country - President

“This heinous crime points to the grave dangers faced by the democratic social order of our country, and the existence of forces that will go to the furthest extremes in using terror and criminality to damage our social fabric and bring disrepute to the country,’ states President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the murder of Mr. Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader.

“It is significant that such an attack was carried out at a time when the country is gaining repeated victories over the forces of terrorism, in our efforts to establish freedom and democracy throughout the country”, the President adds.

Here is the text of the President’s statement:

My government and I most vehemently and unequivocally condemn the murder of Mr. Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader, which took place today.

I am both grieved and shocked by his tragic death as Mr. Wickramatunga was a close friend of mine who I have known for many years as a courageous journalist.

This heinous crime points to the grave dangers faced by the democratic social order of our country, and the existence of forces that will go to the furthest extremes in using terror and criminality to damage our social fabric and bring disrepute to the country. It is significant that such an attack was carried out at a time when the country is gaining repeated victories over the forces of terrorism, in our efforts to establish freedom and democracy throughout the country.

I have directed the Police to conduct the most thorough investigation to bring to book any and all persons responsible for this act of brutality, with maximum speed.

On this sad occasion I extend my deepest sympathies to the members of the family of the late Mr. Wickramatunga, to all his colleagues in The Sunday Leader and associated newspapers, and in the profession of journalism.

Despite grave threats of this nature, my government reiterates its commitment to upholding the principles of Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression, even under the most trying circumstances, as we have witnessed today.

January 08, 2007

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