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Former Sri Lankan police officers granted bail over murder of journalist

Two former Sri Lankan police officers have been granted bail by a court in Mount Lavinia today, after they had been detained over the killing of Sinhala journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge.

Mount Lavinia Magistrate Court’s Chief Magistrate Mohammed Mihal released the two suspects on a cash bail of Rs. 50,000 for each with 2 personal bonds of the closest relatives for Rs. 1 million each, reports Colombo Page.

The two officers, former OIC Sugathapala and the Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara, are accused of concealing and destroying information pertaining to the murder of the former Sunday Leader editor who was gunned down in Colombo and are key suspects in the case.

A report by Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department, which was submitted to the court, found that the killers then abducted and murdered two Tamil youth in Vavuniya, in an attempt to frame the LTTE for the assassination.

Though the current Sri Lankan government pledged to take action on the high profile 2009 killing, a trial is yet to take place. Meanwhile, murders of several Tamil journalists remain unsolved. Speaking on the case last year, TNA parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran said whilst he commended the government for beginning to take action in the murder of Mr Wickrematunge, he criticised the current regime for not investigating the many more killings of Tamil journalists.

"There was a course of Tamil journalists who were killed," he said. "Why has the Government not moved one finger in respect of one of those assassinations? Why? Are Tamil journalists any less citizens of this country than Sinhala journalists? Is that your view? You do not have to answer that. It is blatantly obvious what your view is, when you do not do what you are supposed to do; when you do not do the right thing for certain sections of the community, but rush to do other things."