January 6, on a quiet road on the outskirts of
And at around 6:40 a.m. on January 23, according to Upali Tennakoon, editor of the Sinhala-language, pro-government weekly Rivira, four men on two motorcycles fsmashed its window. One attacker used a metal bar with a single sharp point to hit Tennakoon in the face and in his hands when he put them up to defend himself, he said. He and his wife, Dhammika, were driving to his office at the time of the attack.
by far the worst assault on a journalist came on
January 8, two days after the bombing of Sirasa. At around 10 a.m. on
January 8, the editor-in-chief of The
Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was killed in his car on his way to
work on a busy street in a mixed suburban and semi-industrial suburb of
The attacks on the two men came in broad daylight on public roads, using weapons deigned to maim and kill. Clearly they were meant not only to terrorize their victims but anyone who might support them.
special report on the incidents, Failure
to Investigate, looked closely at the attacks and at the atmosphere of
total impunity that surrounds assaults on journalists in
Samarasinghe, Wickramatunga’s wife, has been conducting a campaign to have the
case investigated and his killers brought to justice. Her Web site, UnbowedandUnafraid
seeks to keep his case and those of other Sri Lankan journalists alive. Fearing
for her safety, she no longer lives in
CPJ has already made the case that the government has not brought his killers or the perpetrators of any other acts of violence against any journalists to justice. Ever. Sonali Samarasinghe’s letter calls on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address those injustices, just as we have been doing.
Read a pdf of the letterhere.