Colombo, September 27, 2016: The body of murdered Sri Lankan newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was popular for his investigative journalism, was exhumed on Tuesday to conduct a fresh probe into his killing in 2009.
Wickrematunge’s body was exhumed at a local burial ground in the presence of a magistrate and under tight security after investigators obtained court approval to exhume the body as suspicion arose over the exact manner in which he was killed, Xinhua news agency reported.
He was the founding editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper and popular for the stand he took on media freedom.
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Wickrematunge was believed to have been killed while on his way to the office for taking on the then government which was on the verge of defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels after 30 years of a civil war.
While in 2009 it was believed that Wickrematunge died of gunshot wounds, investigators now believe he may have died from injuries sustained after a sharp object pierced through his skull.
In a pre-written editorial which was published posthumously, Wickrematunge feared he would be killed for his work by the then government.
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The current editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper Easwaran Rutnam told Xinhua news agency that he was cautiously optimistic that justice will finally be served more than seven years after Wickrematunge’s death.
“The euphoria over the war victory in May 2009 saw the push for justice for Wickrematunge’s killing taking a back seat. However, the new government which took office following elections last year has shown the political will to investigate incidents like that of Wickrematunge’s killing so there is hope the investigation will move forward,” he said.
An army intelligence officer has already been arrested and is being questioned over the incident while a former top police officer was also questioned.