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Sri Lanka: Killing of Sunday Leader newspaper editor, Mr Lasantha Wickramatunga
Front Line is gravely concerned by reports of the killing of Sunday Leader newspaper editor, Mr Lasantha Wickramatunga, on 8 January 2009. Lasantha Wickramatunga was a longtime critic of the Government's policy and the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels. In 2000 he was awarded an Integrity Award by Transparency International for his work exposing corruption in Sri Lankan politics.
On 8 January 2009, at approximately 10.45 in the morning, Lasantha Wickramatunga was shot at by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles on the Attidiya Road, Ratmalana, as he drove to work. Four men, on two motorcycles, reportedly blocked his path close to the Malagala Model School. He was taken to the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital with serious head injuries and a team of neuro-surgeons operated on him for almost 3 hours before he died at approximately 2.10 pm.
According to reports received, Lasantha Wickramatunga had been warned by a member of staff at his home that motorcycles were following him when he left his residence. Lasantha Wickramatunga had previously reported incidents where he felt that his movements were being monitored.
Front Line believes that the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga was directly related to his activities as editor of the Sunday Leader and his vocal criticism of government policies relating to the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Editorial written by Lasantha Wickramatunga that he asked to be published upon his murder: http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090111/editorial-.htm