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Western ambassadors pay tribute to murdered journalists at Lasantha remembrance

Photograph: David McKinnon

The ambassadors of Canada and Germany paid tribute to murdered journalists in Sri Lanka, as they attended the 10 year anniversary of the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge.

Joined by Sri Lankan journalists and politicians, Canadian ambassador David McKinnon tweeted,

“Took a moment this morning to remember him and the many other #SriLanka journalists murdered over the years, and to reflect on why accountability remains elusive”.

Germany’s ambassador to Sri Lanka Joern Rohde tweeted that the “high turnout showed that he and his legacy is not forgotten”.

He went on to add,

“The murder attack on him and other journalists earlier were also attacks on media freedom and democracy itself.”

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

“A vibrant democracy also means that journalists can work without fear.”

The Sunday Leader editor was killed in Colombo in 2009.

As evidence into the murder unfolded, with high-level police officials implicated in coverups and destruction of evidence, a report last year showed that two Tamil youths were abducted and murdered and had their motorcycle stolen in an attempt to frame the LTTE for the journalist’s assassination.

Though the current Sri Lankan government pledged to take action on the high profile killing, a trial is yet to take place. Meanwhile, murders of several Tamil journalists remain unsolved. Speaking on the case in 2017, TNA parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran said whilst he commended the government for beginning to take action in the murder of Wickrematunge, he criticised the current regime for not investigating the many more killings of Tamil journalists.

A report by Together Agianst Genocide found that from 2004 until 2009 at least 48 journalists were killed.  At least 41 of those media workers were Tamil. See more here.