Sri Lanka slams German comments at slain editor’s funeral

January 14th, 2009 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 14 (DPA) The Sri Lankan government sharply criticised German Ambassador Jurgen Weerth for his comments at the funeral of a slain newspaper editor, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday.Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona Tuesday summoned Weerth to express the government’s “displeasure”, the official said on condition of anonymity.

At Monday’s funeral of Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the anti-government newspaper The Sunday Leader, who was shot and killed last week, Weerth said: “Today is a day when one remains speechless. Maybe we should have spoken before this. Today it is too late.”

“Today is a day when humanity has lost a major voice of truth. But he will live in his work,” he said, making clear he was speaking in his capacity as the dean of Colombo-based diplomats.

The funeral was attended by an estimated 5,000 people, including a number of foreign diplomats.

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and three other leaders of political parties were among those who spoke at the funeral.

Wickrematunge’s newspaper was known as an anti-government publication and was also critical of ongoing military operations against Tamil rebels in the northern part of the country.

He was gunned down by unidentified men Jan 8 while he was driving to work. His murder triggered street protests that included the burning of an effigy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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