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Posted on 13 January 2009 at 0:00 GMT

Daylight murder in Colombo - protest

Protest message sent from Committee for a Workers' International

We condemn the daylight murder in Colombo on Thursday, 8 January,of Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader a well-known critic of the Rajapakse government. It comes within three days of a half-hour rampage by thugs who destroyed the MTV station, without any intervention from the forces of the state.

We express our grave concern that the rights of journalists and other media personnel are being trampled on and their lives put in peril. These two events indicate the extent to which the Rajapakse government will go to silence those who speak the truth. It has tried to whip up a campaign against them which has encouraged thugs to carry out these vicious attacks.

With new 'victories' in the war against the Tamil Tigers, the present government will stop at nothing to prevent the truth of the bloodshed and human suffering being told. They also want to cover up the corrupt and dictatorial methods they use.

The killing of this prominent figure also means that ordinary workers who oppose the government as well as human rights workers and political activists are in danger.

We demand an independent inquiry into the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge and all journalists murdered in Sri Lanka in the recent war period, under the control of genuine representatives of journalists, human rights and workers' organisations. An end to the war in Sri Lanka and the killings and intimidation of media and opposition personnel. True freedom of the media and the restoration of all human and democratic rights in Sri Lanka.

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