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WikiLeaks: Sunday Leader MiG Deal Researcher Leaves The Nation

The Sunday Leader journalist who researched the MiG deal had to leave the nation soon after following getting intimidated, according to a leaked cable from the US Embassy Colombo

Pethiyagoda

Pethiyagoda

&#8220In the overheated climate engendered by the officials&#8217 comments, numerous journalists and members of media organizations expressed to Embassy officers heightened concerns for their private security. On May possibly 26, Ruan Pethiyagoda of the Sunday Leader communicated to Emboffs that he was becoming followed and had gone into hiding. Pethiyagoda had received threats recently right after Sri Lankan Government officials learned he was researching a story that involved allegations of corruption on the component of Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in big armed forces procurement transactions. Pethiyagoda worked closely with Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of the Sunday Leader, who was slain in January 2009. As Pethiyagoda is an Australian dual national, Emboffs contacted an Australian High Commission officer about the case, who accompanied Pethiyagoda to the airport on May 27. He is now safely outside of Sri Lanka.&#8221 the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph located the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database dated June 05, 2009. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written by the US embassy Charge d’Affaires James R. Moore.

US embassy Charge d’Affaires wrote &#8220Military affairs analyst Iqbal Athas ceased writing his typical column for the Sunday Occasions (Colombo) several months ago simply because of fears of reprisals. He had sought secure haven abroad on numerous previous occasions, but returned to Sri Lanka and lived in hiding. Athas became fearful soon after the attack on Poddala Jayantha, telling told Pol Chief that he was becoming followed by males on motorcycles. On June 2, Athas once more fled abroad.

&#8220The GSL&#8217s victory has emboldened Sinhalese nationalists. As the most recent intemperate statements against journalists indicate, it seems that the Government intends to continue chauvinistic rhetoric it believes will keep its assistance amongst this important constituency. Post expects the media will continue to feel threatened and inclined toward self-censorship. Newspapers such as the Daily Mirror that previously supported the political opposition in their editorial stance, have increasingly grow to be echoes of the government-owned press. Even the outspoken Sunday Leader has muted it anti-government stance and has muted its crusading tone, shying away from the aggressive investigative journalism that was its hallmark. We count on that an growing quantity of journalists will come to the Embassy and other foreign missions for help and protection. For numerous of them, there seem to be handful of viable options to fleeing the country, at least temporarily. These who return may possibly find that the threat against them has not diminished, as Jayantha&#8217s case shows.&#8221 James Moore further said.

Associated stories

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Rajapaksas Siphon Off 18 Billion Dollars: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

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A Trembling Gotabaya Seems Just before FCID

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Wikileaks: Athas Fears Retaliation For Essential Articles On Gota’s MiG Deal

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