Two years ago on January 8, editor Lasantha Wickrematunga was shot dead from point blank range while driving to work. The incident sent shockwaves of disbelief and triggered a wave of protests here demanding that the culprits be arrested.
On Saturday, at a quiet memorial at Lasantha’s grave, mourners were still asking the question – when will the killers be brought to justice?
In a scathing statement, Reporters Without Borders said that it was appalling that the government had "done nothing to solve the murder and in fact is clearly preventing the truth from coming out."
``More than 50 hearings have been held before a magistrate’s court and the police still seem to be drawing a blank. Although 15 military intelligence officers were held for a brief period, they were released with no explanation being given to court,’’ the statement added.
Quoting Lasantha’s brother Lal Wickrematunga, the media watchdog said: ``Although fingers have been pointed at General Sarath Fonseka, the investigating arms seem to be waiting for a nod from politicians before making any significant moves. The arrests made thus far do not give the impression that an honest attempt is being made to find out who ordered the killing.’’
“There has absolutely been no progress in Lasantha’s murder investigation and this is quite surprising as government ministers such as Mervyn Silva had publicly claimed that he knew who was responsible for Lasantha’s assassination but would not divulge it,’’ the Paris-based organisation said, quoting a journalist on condition of anonymity.
It’s not only the lack of progress in the investigations into Lasantha’s murder case that has raised questions about why the government was dragging its feet on the issue; in about two weeks, it will be a year since another journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, disappearing without a trace. There’s been no progress whatsoever in the police investigations into Eknaligoda’s disappearance either.