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Lasantha murder: International probe urged

[BBC, Sunday, 8 January 2012 14:37 No Comment]

Rights groups and media organisations have long been campaigning for justice On the third death anniversary of a slain newspaper editor his widow has called on the international community to exert pressure on Sri Lanka government to hold an independent investigation into his murder.

Sonali Wickrematunge Samarasinghe, the widow of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, says the investigation needed "to bring back the rule of law rather than the rule of one family."

In a detailed statement to the media, Ms Samarasinghe a journalist herself, accuses the government of covering up the murder.

Mr Wickrematunge a journalist critical of the government was shot dead in the suburbs of the capital, on 08 January 2009, while travelling to work.

Death in custody ‘mysterious’

17 soldiers, including seven attached to army intelligence unit, were arrested by the police on suspicion.

A court later released all 17 soldiers.

Another suspect, Pitchai Jesudasan, who told the court that he was told to implicate a senior army officer to the murder, later died in custody.

Ms Samarasinghe says the death is "mysterious."

"Jesudasan may have died of natural courses but the circumstances of his death in custody gave rise to questions and therefore must be independently investigated," says Ms Samarasinghe who is in self-exile in New York.

The long statement, she also details the alleged lawlessness in Sri Lanka, breakdown of democratic institutions, alleged protection provided by the government to criminals and a series of recent murders, abductions and disappearances.

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