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Sri Lanka to question ex-president over editor's abduction

  • Published at 02:01 pm August 16th, 2018
Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse gestures as he takes part in a ceremony in Colombo on May 19, 2018, held to mark the 9th anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist war AFP

During Rajapakse's tenure, 17 journalists and media workers were killed

Sri Lanka's ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse is to be questioned over the 2008 abduction of a newspaper editor, police said Wednesday, as authorities investigate the former leader and his family over allegations of murder and fraud.

Investigators believe a group of military officials behind the abduction of the Nation news editor Keith Noyahr was also responsible for the assassination of another newspaper editor fiercely critical of Rajapakse.

The Criminal Investigations Department has told Rajapakse he will be questioned at his home in Colombo on Friday, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told AFP.

Noyahr's abduction, which prompted widespread criticism, came after he published an article criticising a top military commander.

He was snatched from outside his home near Colombo as he returned from work, and was released - battered and bruised - in the streets of a suburb of Colombo a few hours later.

Prosecutors allege he was taken away in a white van and beaten up at a safe house run by the directorate of military intelligence (DMI).

Noyahr has since moved to Australia.

Investigators also believe the DMI was behind the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga, an editor who had accused Rajapakse's defence secretary and brother Gotabhaya of taking kickbacks for arms purchases, and was due to testify in court when he was killed.

Major General Amal Karunasekera, the DMI's chief at the time, is currently in custody over the case.

During Rajapakse's tenure, 17 journalists and media workers were killed.

The former president and members of his family are under investigation for murder and large-scale financial fraud during his decade as president.

All deny any wrongdoing and in turn accuse the current government of pursuing a political vendetta.

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