Faraz Shauketaly, the Sri Lankan journalist who was shot at the weekend, confirms he is recovering and under government protection after the attempt on his life, and calls for a full investigation.
Faraz Shauketaly, who works for The Sunday Leader in Sri Lanka, has issued a statement after the shooting at the weekend which left him in hospital.
He was shot in the neck by three unidentified gunmen on Friday night in his house in Mount Lavinia, while on the phone discussing a story for this week’s edition of the newspaper.
Although political violence has calmed since the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war in 2009, human rights groups remain concerned about political violence, abductions and attacks on media and government critics.
An editor at The Sunday Leader was killed in January 2009 and other members of staff have also been attacked in the past, although no arrests have been made.
In his statement, Mr Shauketaly confirmed he is under government protection personally ordered by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also said the government had ordered an investigation into the incident.
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His statement in full:
“Further to a clear attempt to assassinate me at my residence last Friday night by persons as yet unknown, my family and I would like to thank His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka for his personal intervention in issuing instructions to the law enforcement authorities to ensure a thorough and rapid investigation is carried out into this matter. This clearly demonstrates His Excellency’s determination to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
“My family and I are also mindful of the support we have had from hundreds of well-wishers around the world concerned at these rather traumatic events and we appreciate their messages of support and concern including that of the United Kingdom. Due to the wide international coverage this incident has caused primarily due to my involvement in the media industry, we have felt a need to address some of those concerns.
“It would be prudent to note that due to the nature of my very serious injuries I have been unable to fully assist the investigative work of the local police who are yet to receive my formal statement of the traumatic events that took place last Friday night at my home in Mount Lavinia. Naturally, in the fullness of time my statement will be given to the police in order that the important work they are required to carry out will be facilitated.
“However my most immediate concern now is for the recovery of my health and of course the continued safety of my family and me. In this respect His Excellency President Rajapaksa has personally ordered the provision of adequate personal protection for me and this is very much in place now. Indeed, Security was provided immediately after the incident was reported. I am clearly very grateful for this support during this difficult and trying period for me personally.
“The articles that I have written on a variety of subjects including investigative articles, news reports, and the column I write, has never been at cross-purposes and it is acknowledged that these have been balanced and equitable in every way.
“My family and I are confident that once the necessary statements have been made the authorities in Sri Lanka will be able to fully investigate, apprehend and prosecute to the full extent the law permits, those responsible for planning and executing the cowardly attack on my life.
“My family is deeply grateful for the efforts and support received from the United Kingdom authorities in Sri Lanka and would like to urge all concerned that until such time that the investigations are completed, it would be unfair and inequitable to rush into conclusions that may have no basis in fact. We urge the international community to bear with these particular circumstances which we acknowledge are both difficult and important to completely investigate.”