Sri Lanka: President threatens newspaper chairman by phone
04 Aug 11

On Tuesday it was reported that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa threatened the chairman of The Sunday Leader, Lal Wickrematunge, by phone on 19 July. In response to an article that claimed China had given the president and his son millions of dollars to be used “at their discretion”, Rajapaksa reportedly told Wickrematunge, “you can attack me politically, but if you attack me personally, I will know how to attack you personally too.” The Sunday Leader is Sri Lanka’s only independent English-language newspaper, and has long been targeted by the government. The paper claims the 2009 murder of its former head, Lasantha Wickematunge (Lal’s brother), was never investigated fully.