Journalist shot and seriously wounded for investigative articleView(s):
Unknown gunmen on Friday night shot and seriously wounded Faraz Shaukatally, an investigative journalist attached to The Sunday Leader. Doctors at Colombo’s National Hospital carried out emergency surgery on him yesterday to remove a bullet embedded below his neck. They said he was now out of danger.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon to conduct a full investigation, his spokesperson told reporters. Police Spokesperson Prashantha Jayakody said the Mount Lavinia Police had so far questioned about seven people. He said three unidentified persons had entered “Oceania Blue,” Mr Shaukatally’s part-residence-part-guesthouse and opened fire at him.
He had been taken to the Kalubowila hospital by a tourist. There had been four Indian and four Australian nationals at the time of the attack. The journalist’s family is living in Britain. National Hospital Director Anil Jasinghe said Mr. Shaukataly, who is in the Intensive Care Unit, was shot in the neck below the left ear, and that surgery was performed to remove the bullet. His condition stabilised afterwards. However, Dr. Jasinghe said further tests would be carried out.
The Sunday Leader Editor Sakuntala Perera said they suspected the attack was work related. “Just three days ago, Mr.Shaukatally told me a group of persons in T-shirts had visited his house and made inquiries about him. He knew he was under threat,” she said. However, the editor added she was unable to figure out for which investigative article that he was targeted.
Editors Guild of Sri Lanka President Siri Ranasinghe said the editors strongly condemned the attack and believed the Government would take stern action to prevent such attacks.
Also condemning the attack was the Free Media Movement (FMM). It said in a statement that not only journalists but the right to assembly and the freedom of expression had also come under threat.
The authorities’ failure to investigate the previous attacks on journalists had led to the current dangerous situation faced by media personnel, the FMM said.
The Sri Lanka Chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), in a statement called for an independent inquiry into the assassination attempt on the journalist.
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