Sunday Leader editor faces arrest
[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 December 2006, 10:46 GMT]
Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been instructed by the Defence Ministry to arrest Lasantha Wikramatunga, the editor of the Sunday Leader, who exposed last Sunday a move to build a 500 million rupee bunker at Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's official residence, editorial staff of the paper said. As the news spread, media personnel in Colombo surrounded the Sunday Leader office Thursday evening.
The CID officials who have been in touch with Lasantha Wickramatunga had informed him about the move.
Meanwhle, legal sources in Colombo said that the CID personnel had consulted the Sri Lanka's Attorney General, on the possibility of detaining the editor under Emergency regulations.
Lasantha Wickramatunga had contacted the Director General of the Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle, and sought permission to use the information about the construction of the bunker at President's house, before publishing the story.
No mention was made to exact location of the bunker in the news story, the editor told the media personnel who had gathered at the office Thursday evening.
The editor said he had explained the background to the CID officials and told them that he was available at the office of the paper for any inquiry.
The Free Media Movement in Colombo, in a press release issued recently stated that the public security and anti-terrorism measures introduced by the government are "potentially extremely negative for freedom of speech and expression in Sri Lanka."