Family of Victim File Lawsuit against Former Sri Lankan Defense Minister for Human Rights Violations

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Saturday, April 27, 2019
Bruce Zagaris

On April 15, 2019, a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California unsealed a civil lawsuit against former Sir Lankan Defense Minister Gotabay Rajapaska, a dual U.S.-Sri Lankan citizen, seeking damages for his alleged involvement in the 2009 killing of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga. On April 4, 2019, Ahimsa Wickramatunga, the journalist’s daughter, filed the suit under seal. The complaint against Rajapaksa alleges that he led a broad campaign against journalists during his ten years or so as defense minister, from 2005 to 2015.  On January 9, 2009, Mr. Wickramatunga, editor of The Sunday Leader at the time, was beaten to death, after he exposed alleged corruption by Rajapaksa.  The complaint alleges that men allegedly part of the Tripoli Platoon, which operated under Rajapaksa’s command, carried out the beatings.