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Freelance journalist Sampath Lakmal assassinated
(LeN-July 02, 7.35 pm second edition) Samapth Lakmal Silva who served as a freelance journalist was abducted and killed last night by an unidentified group. His body was found this morning at Jayawardane Road, Dehiwala.

The 24 year old Lakmal worked at the Lakbima newspaper, TNL television and Sathdina newspaper and wrote extensively on defence matters. He was employed by the Sathdina until last April and at the time of his death he was attached to the media unit of Minister Rishard Badurdeen's Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry.

He had left his home at Werahera, Boralesgamuwa last night after receiving a telephone call. According to his mother a person called ‘Kumara’ had given the call and Lakmal had answered "OK, Sir I'll come now" and telling his mother that he was going to meet 'Kuara Sir' who he had said was coming from Wattala and his body was found this morning from Dehiwala.

The Army Media Unit said that Lakmal had provided themwith information and on an earlier occasion as well he was assaulted by an unidentified group for writing on defence related issues.

The convenor of the Free Media Movement Sunanda Deshapriya said such killings at a time of the country is sliding towards war could pose a serious threat to independent journalists and pointed out that during the past 16 months, 6 media personnel including 4 journalists were assassinated and those responsible had not been brought to book. He appealed the sae fate should not be allowed to happen to this killing as well.

(The photograph shows Lakmal's body lying at Jaywardane Road, Dehiwala and its removal by police)
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