1st January 2007, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply saddened to hear news of the murder of United National Party (UNP) MP T. Maheswaran in Colombo. As noted on the Tamilnet website today, “The shooting, which also injured two others, comes a few hours after the MP had claimed that he would reveal details on how abductions and killings in Jaffna are managed by the Sri Lankan establishment through the ….. Paramilitary from Colombo.”
We offer our sincere condolences to MP Maheswaran’s family. Further, we unequivocally condemn this act that the FMM sees as a significant attack against the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. It is also the most recent example of the culture of impunity and wanton violence that has gripped the country. T. Maheswaran was in no way an apologist for terrorism and was a strong advocate for democratic governance. His statements in parliament and in public were in support of a just peace and also in support of securing and strengthening human rights.
Adding to an incredible number of political killings and the suppression of those who seek to bring to light gross human rights abuses, the FMM sees the murder of MP T. Maheswaran as a significantly bad omen for 2008. While calling for an urgent and transparent inquiry into this latest political killing, we are mindful that the Sri Lankan Police have been unable and unwilling to bring the killers of other high profile political figures, including that of TNA MP N. Raviraj in May 2007.
We strongly call upon the media to investigate this killing and larger and disturbing erosion of democracy in Sri Lanka, with a view to upholding all human rights for all and end impunity.