Letters   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Opposition editor murdered

September 9, 1999

Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
President, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo-1
Sri Lanka


Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly condemns the murder of Rohana Kumara, chief editor of the Sinhala-language newspaper Satana.

At around 10 p.m. on September 7, unidentified assailants shot and killed Kumara on the road leading to his home in the Colombo suburb of Mirihana. The assailants reportedly fled the scene in a silver Toyota 300 car. Kumara had received a phone call earlier that night notifying him that a group of men had entered his home and threatened to harm his wife if she did not reveal her husband's whereabouts.

The motive for the killing is not yet known, but journalists in Sri Lanka fear Kumara may have been murdered for his work. CPJ's sources characterize Satana ("Battle") as a controversial tabloid paper with a reputation for attacking the government and featuring personal and political scandal. Though Satana currently receives financial backing from the opposition United National Party (UNP), it had also taken money from the People's Alliance (PA) coalition led by Your Excellency, in the days when the PA was in the opposition, according to the Colombo-based Free Media Movement (FMM).

The FMM also reports that Satana recently ran a series of stories concerning allegations of high-level corruption and bribery involving, among others, Your Excellency's media advisor, Sanath Gunatillake.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ is deeply disturbed by Kumara's murder. We congratulate Your Excellency for acting promptly in this case to order a full investigation into the killing.

CPJ respectfully urges Your Excellency to make the results of this investigation public, and bring Rohana Kumara's killers to justice.

We thank you very much for your attention to these matters, and await your response.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director





Join CPJ in Protesting Attacks on the Press in Sri Lanka

Send a letter to:

Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
President, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo-1
Sri Lanka

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