Home / Front Page/ Lasantha’s daughter calls for “honest and courageous” politician to run against GR

Lasantha’s daughter calls for “honest and courageous” politician to run against GR


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 14 August 2019 00:18


 Ahimsa Wickrematunge holding a 

portrait of her father, slain Editor 

Lasantha Wickrematunge

 

  • In strongly worded letter to PM severely criticises delay in cases against GR 
  • Says Lasantha’s death was used to gain votes, but little was done once power was attained 
  • Insists only hope  justice is a Presidential candidate committed to delivering justice

Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, in a public letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for the selection of an “honest and courageous” presidential candidate to run

Ranil Wickremesinghe
 
Gotabaya 

Rajapaksa

against Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) contender Gotabaya Rajapaksa, warning that failure to do so will deprive victims of their opportunity for justice. 

Referring to a speech made by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on Monday where he questioned whether Rajapaksa has apologised for the murder of Wickrematunge, Ahimsa Wickrematunge pointed out that not only was an apology unlikely but insisted Wickremesinghe was responsible for protecting Rajapaksa over the last four and a half years.       

“Let me put your mind at ease. No. Gotabaya Rajapaksa will never apologise for my father’s murder. In television interviews over the last 10 years, he has made no secret of the fact that he was proud of it. He has made up his mind not to apologise. But have you, Prime Minister? Will you apologise for spending the last four and a half years protecting with the man you today call a mass murderer?” 

“From the day my father died, you have invoked his name to win votes. My father’s murder was a prop in the 2015 presidential and parliamentary election campaigns that made you Prime Minister. You brought President Sirisena to power and won control of Parliament for the UNP, all by promising justice for my father’s murder,” the letter added. 

Ahimsa Wickrematunge went onto recap what she termed as the gross negligence and delays in bringing key cases to justice even though top officials of the UNP were in positions of Government crucial to ensuring investigations were completed, charges filed before court and judicial proceedings completed in a timely manner. She touched on journalist Pradeep Eknaligoda’s disappearance, the attack on Editor Upali Tennakoon and questioned by investigative officers were not supported during their duties. She also highlighted the delays in MiG deal investigations and pointed out that it was a critical part of understanding the motives behind her father’s death. 

“Where were you, Prime Minister, when the Army and intelligence services refused to cooperate with the investigation? What did you do when you were told a critical informant against Gotabaya Rajapaksa needed protection? And when my father’s lead murder investigator, Inspector Nishantha Silva, was kicked out of the CID by the President, why did you not lift a finger in protest?”

“For months now, your Attorney-General has been forcibly shutting down investigations involving Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Tripoli death squad, covering up their involvement and pressing charges against foot soldiers. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was let off the hook in the Eknaligoda case despite two officers confessing that he personally ordered the abduction. Rajapaksa has not even been questioned about these sworn confessions. Even though Upali Tennakoon was attacked using four motorbikes, only two junior soldiers are being charged. Rajapaksa and the Tripoli team got off scot free. Will you do anything meaningful to seek accountability?” she charged. 

Ahimsa Wickrematunge also insisted that unless Wickremesinghe selects a candidate who can champion democracy and rule of law, justice for her and others like her will remain unlikely.  

“There is but one last hope for me and the other survivors and victims of white van era brutality. Gotabaya Rajapaksa must be challenged and defeated by a contender who is committed to delivering justice when in Government, and not by someone who exploits victims to win elections and thereafter entertains people he calls murderers at his official residence.”

“Simply put, if this country remains at your mercy and at the mercy of your new friend, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then there is no hope that your old friend, my father Lasantha Wickrematunge, will ever receive justice.” 


 

Full statement is given below.

 

Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe,

Prime Minister of the Republic of Sri Lanka,

Temple Trees,

Colombo 03

Prime Minister,

Yesterday, in a political speech, you referred to my father, and your close friend, Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was murdered on 8th January 2009. Responding to a claim by Gotabaya Rajapaksa that as president, he would create an environment without fear, you asked whether Rajapaksa would apologise for my father’s murder and several other gruesome crimes.

Let me put your mind at ease. No. Gotabaya Rajapaksa will never apologise for my father’s murder. In television interviews over the last 10 years, he has made no secret of the fact that he was proud of it. He has made up his mind not to apologise. But have you, Prime Minister? Will you apologise for spending the last four and a half years protecting and cavorting with the man you today call a mass murderer?

From the day my father died, you have invoked his name to win votes. My father’s murder was a prop in the 2015 presidential and parliamentary election campaigns that made you Prime Minister. You brought President Sirisena to power and won control of Parliament for the UNP, all by promising justice for my father’s murder.

As soon as you came to power, your priorities changed. When I met you at Temple Trees in February 2015 to appeal for your support in making sure my father’s killers saw justice, you told me that there were “other priorities” and that justice was “not just about Lasantha.”

I have since seen what these priorities are. The police, which came under the direct purview of your Chief of Staff, did not bring Gotabaya Rajapaksa to justice. Proving the MiG Deal is a critical part of proving why my father was killed. But on your watch, a corrupt officer in charge of the FCID botched the MiG Deal investigation and kept Gotabaya’s name out of it.

Because it is election season, you are publicly attacking him as a killer. But even as you do so, your Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake and other ministers are visiting him and spending hours at his residence, your government is allegedly issuing him irregular identity cards and passports and your senior aide and niece is openly promoting Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s campaign propaganda on social media.

This is the kind of treatment that you and your staff mete out to the people you call murderers. However, whenever the CID needed help with my father’s case, you were nowhere to be seen.

Where were you, Prime Minister, when the army and intelligence services refused to cooperate with the investigation? What did you do when you were told a critical informant against Gotabaya Rajapaksa needed protection? And when my father’s lead murder investigator, Inspector Nishantha Silva, was kicked out of the CID by the President, why did you not lift a finger in protest?

For months now, your Attorney-General has been forcibly shutting down investigations involving Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Tripoli death squad, covering up their involvement and pressing charges against foot soldiers. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was let off the hook in the Eknaligoda case despite two officers confessing that he personally ordered the abduction. Rajapaksa has not even been questioned about these sworn confessions. Even though Upali Tennakoon was attacked using four motorbikes, only two junior soldiers are being charged. Rajapaksa and the Tripoli team got off scot free. Will you do anything meaningful to seek accountability?

No. Instead, your family and senior staff continue to bond with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, while you blithely call him a murderer in public. If you become President or remain Prime Minister, I am certain that the mysteriously absolute impunity that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has enjoyed on your watch will continue unabated.

Now that the man who boasted about my father’s demise is formally a presidential candidate, I pray that his opponent will be an honest and courageous politician who embodies justice, equal protection under the law and mature, responsible governance. I pray that the candidate who opposes Rajapaksa will not be someone who cuts backroom deals and compromises his principles to ensure his own political survival to the detriment of his party and his country.

There is but one last hope for me and the other survivors and victims of white van era brutality. Gotabaya Rajapaksa must be challenged and defeated by a contender who is committed to delivering justice when in government, and not by someone who exploits victims to win elections and thereafter entertains people he calls murderers at his official residence.

Simply put, if this country remains at your mercy and at the mercy of your new friend, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then there is no hope that your old friend, my father Lasantha Wickrematunge, will ever receive justice.

With the utmost sincerity.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

‘Data is the new oil’: An introduction to the proposed Data Protection Act

Friday, 6 December 2019

Data protection is not a concept we, in Sri Lanka, are familiar with. Globally, the laws surrounding data protection have been around for about 20 years. And we are only just about getting started. The proposed ‘Data Protection Act’ (hereinafter


Education: An integral part of entrepreneurship development

Friday, 6 December 2019

Governments across the world have recognised the importance of State intervention to encourage private sector innovation towards strengthening entrepreneurships in order to capitalise on comparative and competitive advantages. The main pillar of entr


Moving away from an insular mindset concerning the tea export business

Friday, 6 December 2019

Sri Lanka mainly produces Orthodox teas as opposed to CTC teas which are largely used in producing tea bags. We are ahead of others in the former category but unfortunately way behind on the latter due to our closed and insular policies. Assuming an


Opportunities for scaling up climate finance in Sri Lanka

Friday, 6 December 2019

The National Consultation on Climate Finance Mechanisms for Financial Institutions in Sri Lanka organised by ICC Sri Lanka together with UNESCAP brought together professionals from several sectors to discuss pressing issues in promoting climate-resil


Columnists More