“It’s potentially very explosive – it might go right to the top,” said analyst Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who runs a policy think tank and election monitoring group.”
Authorities re-opened the case of Wasim Thajudeen’s death after allegations mounted that police had covered up a murder in which a son of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was implicated. Rajapaksa has denied that his son was involved and says the allegations are politically motivated.
Though Sri Lanka’s civil war ended nearly five years ago, the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has shown no political will to address its record of perfect impunity in the nine murders of journalists that have taken place under his leadership, first as prime minister and then as president. Government and military officials are suspected to be behind several of the murders, including the 2009 assassination of prominent editor Lasantha Wikramatunga, known for his critical reporting, and the nearly 10-year-old shooting of Aiyathurai Nadesan, penname Nellai G. Nadesan, an award-winning journalist who was threatened before his death in response to his reporting about the army. Impunity in Sri Lanka is a major factor behind high numbers of journalists going into exile, according to CPJ research.
Impunity Index Rating: 0.443 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
Last year: Ranked 4th with a rating of 0.431