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Call for investigation into violent attack on Sri Lankan journalist

(IPI/IFEX) - On 18 February 2013, the International Press Institute (IPI) urged the Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a swift and comprehensive investigation into the violent attack on Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shauketaly.

Shauketaly was seriously injured on Saturday 16 February after three gunmen broke into his house near the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and opened fire from close range. The 54-year-old journalist, who holds both Sri Lankan and British citizenship, was rushed to hospital where doctors successfully removed a bullet from his neck.

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

According to reports, Shauketaly's life is currently not in danger; however, he suffered serious injuries.

Prior to the attack Shauketaly was engaged in investigations focused on corruption both within the private and government sectors, according to the British Independent.

The attack on Shauketaly was not an isolated incident; reporters from the Sunday Leader have been victims of aggression before. In January 2009, former editor-in-chief Lasantha Wickrematunga was shot dead by two men on motorbikes. Reports said that the paper had been critically covering military actions against Tamil rebels by government forces at that time.

According to the 2011 Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka published by the U.S. State Department, there have been several incidents in which government officials issued death threats aimed directly at journalists.

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