Large crowd attends Sri Lankan editor’s funeral

January 12th, 2009 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 12 (DPA) A large crowd gathered for the funeral of a slain newspaper editor in the Sri Lankan capital Monday as the opposition called for an international investigation into the killing.The funeral procession for The Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, 52, started Monday afternoon, with the burial scheduled to take place at Colombo’s main cemetery.

Four major political parties, including the United National Party of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, called on the public to gather in the capital for the funeral.

Wickremesinghe asked the government carry out a special investigation into the editor’s murder with the assistance of an international team.

The opposition blamed the government for the murder, but President Mahinda Rajapaksa alleged it was carried out to discredit the military, which has made significant gains against the Tamil Tigers in the country’s north.

Wickrematunge, whose newspaper was highly critical of the government and the military, was gunned down at Attidiya, 12 km south of Colombo’s city centre, as he was driving to his office Thursday morning. The shooting occurred near an air force base.

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