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Parliamentarian murdered after announcing intention to expose government involvement in abductions, killings

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is a 1 January 2008 FMM press release:

FMM strongly condemns the killing of UNP MP T. Maheswaran

1 January 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka - The FMM is deeply saddened to hear news of the murder of United National Party (UNP) Member of Parliament 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."

The FMM offers its sincere condolences to MP Maheswaran's family. Further, we unequivocally condemn this act that the FMM sees as a significant attack against 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. Maheswaran was in no way an apologist for terrorism and was a strong advocate for democratic governance. His statements in Parliament and in public forums were in support of a just peace and 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 murder of Maheswaran is a bad omen for 2008. While calling for an urgent and transparent inquiry into this latest political killing, the FMM is mindful that the Sri Lankan Police have been unable and unwilling to bring to justice the killers of other high-profile political figures, including MP N. Raviraj in May 2007.

The FMM strongly calls upon the media to investigate this killing and the larger disturbing trend of the erosion of democracy in Sri Lanka, with a view to upholding human rights for all and ending impunity.

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