Colombo: A Sri Lankan court on Thursday gave permission to police to exhume the body of a high-profile newspaper editor whose murder under the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime remains unsolved.
The Colombo suburban Mount Lavinia magistrate's court has issued the order on the killing of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga in January 2009 following an application by the Police's Crime Investigation Department (CID).
Editor Wickrematunga and his newspaper were staunch critics of Rajapaksa. He was a sharp critic of the then government's alleged human rights violations during a civil war with the ethnic Tamil rebels.
The reason for exhumation is to determine the exact cause of his death. The original autopsy report on the death by the Judicial Medical Officer had been inconclusive. The officer who carried out the autopsy reported that the death occurred due to gunshot wounds while the surgeon said the wounds were not from bullets, the police said. The Sri Lankan government led by Maithripala Sirisena, who came to power in January 2015, had reopened investigations into Wickremetunga's murder, pledging to arrest all those involved in the killing.
A number of journalists were killed, reported as missing after being abducted by government paramilitaries, or beaten up under Rajapaksa's administration. No one has been convicted.
The exhumation is to take place on September 27 at the Colombo General cemetery.