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Sri Lanka exhumes body in politically-charged murder probe

(AFP) Forensic experts exhumed the body of a Sri Lankan rugby star Monday, following allegations that former president Mahinda Rajapakse’s son was involved in his murder.

A Colombo magistrate ordered a new investigation into the May 2012 killing of Wasim Thajudeen last week after police said they had fresh evidence and wanted to reopen the case.

Sri Lanka’s former leader denied Sunday that his son, former rugby skipper Yoshitha Rajapakse, was involved and accused the government of seeking to make political capital out of the investigation.

It comes a week ahead of parliamentary elections in which he is hoping to make his political comeback after he suffered a surprise defeat in January’s presidential vote.

Local media have reported that Thajudeen was killed over a love triangle that involved Rajapakse’s second son Yoshitha, although police recorded the death as a road accident.

Both men had represented Sri Lanka at Rugby Sevens and Rajapakse senior has been accused of helping to cover up the murder.

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters last week that three members of Rajapakse’s security contingent had been identified as the men who abducted and killed Thajudeen.

"The body had been wrapped in a plastic bag so it is well preserved and we hope to be able to finish our work very soon," Sri Lanka’s chief judicial medical officer Ajith Thennakoon told reporters at the grave site.

Dozens of anti-Rajapakse activists carried placards denouncing the former leader and his administration, which faced international censure over alleged rights violations during his decade in power.

The fresh investigation is the latest blow to Sri Lanka’s former strongman leader, who is under investigation over allegations he syphoned off billions of dollars from the state during his rule.





Several of his siblings, as well as other family members and close associates face a plethora of corruption allegations, which they have rejected as a political witch-hunt. (Colombo/Aug10/2015)

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