Last Updated : 2019-07-20 15:12:00

Lasantha’s murder: Civil lawsuit unsealed in US against Gota

16 April 2019 03:30 pm - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A civil lawsuit has been unsealed by a US federal judge on Monday against former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking damages for his alleged involvement in the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported on Monday.

According to the CPJ's website, a federal judge of the District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles has unsealed the civil lawsuit on Monday.

The suit had been filed under seal by Ahimsa Wickramatunga, Lasantha Wickramatunga's daughter, on April 4. Although authorities in Sri Lanka have claimed to be investigating the case for years, criminal proceedings have not progressed, according to CPJ reporting.

"For more than 10 years, authorities in Sri Lanka have utterly failed to deliver justice in the brutal killing of Lasantha Wickramatunga, despite a wealth of evidence pointing to perpetrators," said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists' Asia program coordinator, from Manila.

"Perhaps successful prosecution of the case in a US court will finally spur authorities in Sri Lanka to pursue the murder as they should have from the start."

The complaint against Rajapaksa describes a broad campaign against journalists during the decade he served as defence secretary, from 2005 to 2015.

Lasantha Wickramatunga was the editor of the Sunday Leader and exposed alleged corruption by Rajapaksa; he was beaten to death on January 9, 2009, allegedly by men who were part of the Tripoli Platoon, operating under Rajapaksa's command, according to the complaint.

The case was filed under seal with no damages specified, and Rajapaksa was served with papers in Los Angeles on April 7, according to the Center for Justice and Accountability, whose lawyers helped prepare the complaint. In January, the center won a $302.5 million judgment against the Syrian Government over the 2012 killing of Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa had not responded to a Twitter direct message sent by the CPJ asking for comment.

  Comments - 7

  • Lalindra Perera Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:33 PM

    You do not need to prevent a person from being elected as President to spur the SL gvt into action. This is depriving the citizens of Sri Lanka of the right to elect a person of their choice.

    Chethika Wednesday, 17 April 2019 04:49 PM

    Why don't we just vote for Obama? I mean, looks like we have no one else to vote for, that we are so desperate to chose a US Citizen?

    Lord Wolfstein Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:38 PM

    Well, Gota, for years you have spread fear and terror. What is the feeling of being scared yourself?

    Unchikun Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:39 PM

    Now Now Now, this is getting hot. Oh! waiting for comments from the Black Coats at the Comedy Channel. This is nice.

    Mohammed Ameer Tuesday, 16 April 2019 06:08 PM

    Truth prevail

    Kumar Wednesday, 17 April 2019 10:01 AM

    If the case for a Sinhalese journalist like Lasantha is so, how can the deprived Tamils can expect Sri Lankan judiciary or law will bring justice to them?

    Rubini P Wednesday, 17 April 2019 04:30 PM

    The SriLankan Judiciary is a joke. The thousands of pending cases which have dragged on for years at the expense of the victim. High time we restructured the entire system and introduced some international benchmarks for the establishment of a sound legal system


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