Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka investigative journalist

Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:37pm EST
 
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By Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen shot and seriously wounded a Sri Lankan investigative journalist, colleagues and officials said on Saturday, prompting condemnation from the United Nations' top human rights official.

Three unidentified gunmen entered a guest house where Faraz Shaukatally, who works at the Sunday Leader, was staying, broke into his room and opened fire, police said.

The journalist was on the telephone discussing a story to appear in this week's edition when he was shot, Sunday Leader Editor Sakunthala Perera said. The attack occurred on Friday, the paper said in its online edition.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was deeply disturbed at the "attempted assassination" of a journalist working on a paper critical of the government. Britain also expressed serious concern at the shooting of the journalist, who holds joint British citizenship.

Political violence has eased since Sri Lanka's army crushed a three-decade Tamil separatist rebellion in May 2009, but international human rights groups say rule of law problems persist, including abductions and attacks on media and government critics.

Doctors at the Colombo National Hospital said Shaukatally, 52, was undergoing further tests before being admitted for surgery.

"The government's failure to prosecute those who have been responsible for attacks on media in the past has paved the way for this nature of incidents to continue," Sunil Jayasekera, secretary of the Free Media Movement, a Sri Lankan rights group, told Reuters.

EDITOR KILLED   Continued...