UK & World News

  • 17 February 2013, 0:02

Sri Lanka: British Journalist Shot By Gunmen

A British investigative journalist has been shot and seriously wounded in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

Three gunmen broke into the home of Faraz Shauketaly, who works at the Sunday Leader, and opened fire, police said.

The journalist - who holds dual British and Sri Lankan nationality -  is being treated in hospital for serious injuries to his neck.

The 52-year-old was on the telephone discussing a story to appear in this week's edition when he was shot, Sunday Leader editor Sakunthala Perera said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the attack as an "attempted assassination".

"I'm deeply disturbed by this particular shooting because it's a journalist and he's attached to a newspaper that's known to be critical of the government - particularly on accountability and in justice issues - which are issues that I cover," she said.

"Whoever tried to kill him obviously was targeting him. It's an act of attempted assassination so he needs to be protected immediately."

Ms Pillay said there needed to be a "proper investigation before we can conclude" whether there was any state involvement in the attack.

"The Sri Lankan government swears by the integrity of their army and their police, well it's time they demonstrated that," she said.

"These institutions built into the democracy must now begin to work properly and this is an immediate instance where they can demonstrate that."

British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said it "remained unclear" whether the attack - the latest in a spate against reporters - was related to Mr Shauketaly's work on the English-language paper.

Mr Burt said the Sri Lankan authorities "must quickly identify who committed this crime and bring them to justice" - accusing them of doing too little to investigate previous incidents.

Mr Shauketaly was visited in hospital on Saturday by UK consular staff.

An editor of the Sunday Leader was killed in January 2009 and other staff journalists have also been attacked, but no arrests have been made.

Ms Pillay, who called on Sri Lankan authorities this week to allow international experts to help resolve issues of alleged wartime crimes, said she would report her concern about extra-judicial killings, abductions and the suppression of freedom of expression to the Human Rights Council.

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