Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was shot dead by Army intelligence officers in 2009, a Sri Lankan magesterial court heard on 24 November.
CID Inspector Nishantha Silva made the revelation before Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammad Sahabdeen after the man driving Wickramatunge's car at the time of the crime alleged that an Army intelligence officer had abducted and detained him. The accused, an officer of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, was arrested in July this year. In September, Wickrematunge's body was exhumed as a part of the probe.
Wickramatunge was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne, armed men in Colombo in January 2009.
The death of the senior journalist, a vocal critic of the then-Rajapaksa government's alleged human rights violations, came at the fag end of the Sri Lankan civil war. A few days before his death, Wickrematunge wrote in an editorial that he would be killed by the government.
"Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last... Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty," he wrote.