Ahimsa to challenge U.S. court decision

Ahimsa Wickramatunga, daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge says she will challenge the U.S. court decision to dismiss her case against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse.

On 15 July Ahimsa Wickrematunge filed a case against Rajapaksa alleging him  of the extrajudicial killing of her father late Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Leader newspaper , crimes against humanity and torture.

The United States District Court, however, dismissed the case on grounds that the defendant is entitled to common law foreign official immunity.

The Plaintiff Ahimsa Wickrematunge following the court decision said, “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.” she said.

Ahimsa Wickrematunge’s counsel Natalie L. Reid of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP said, “An end to impunity is precisely what the Torture Victim Protection Act was designed to provide in cases like this. There is no immunity when government officials act outside their authority to torture and murder journalists. Defendant Rajapaksa, a U.S. citizen, can and must be held accountable in U.S. courts.”