US Court dismisses case against Gota over Lasantha killing
A California Court has dismissed the case filed against SLPP Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa alleging that he was responsible for the extra-judicial killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.
However, Ahimsa Wickrematunge, Lasantha’s daughter who filed action says she will appeal against the dismissal.
A press release issued by the California-based Non-Governmental agency, Center for Justice and Accountability which filed the case, it states that the “Court held that it lacks the jurisdiction to consider Wickrematunge’s claims, because, in the Court’s view, Rajapaksa is entitled to common law foreign official immunity for the acts that are alleged—acts of torture, extrajudicial killing, and crimes against humanity. The Court found that these acts were committed in his official capacity as Sri Lanka’s Secretary of Defense.”
The Court made no finding on the actual merits of the allegations against Rajapaksa, which include his alleged responsibility for the extrajudicial killing of Lasantha and for the Sri Lankan government’s campaign of violence against journalists during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Ahimsa in a statement says “This is a disappointing setback in my family’s long fight for justice on behalf of my father, as well as for the movement to end impunity for the killing of journalists in Sri Lanka. My father was a civilian driving to his office when he was brutally assassinated on the street. Killing a journalist because of their reporting should never be seen as an official state act and my lawyers and I will continue to fight to ensure perpetrators of these abuses do not escape justice.”
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies