Unidentified gunmen shoot Sri Lanka journalist

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 08:07 hrs

Colombo: Unidentified gunmen have shot and seriously wounded a journalist for an independent newspaper near Sri Lanka's capital, his colleagues and police said on Saturday.

Faraz Shaukarally, a journalist of the Sunday Leader, was the latest victim of a string of attacks on journalists and media workers in this Indian ocean island. Amnesty International says at least 14 Sri Lankan media workers have been killed since the beginning of 2006.

The editor of the English-language newspaper, Sakunthala Perera, said that Faraz was wounded Friday night by three gunmen who stormed into his home in Mt. Lavinia on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo.

She said Faraz suffered injuries to his neck and added that he was writing investigative stories for the paper and the "attack could be related to an article'' written by him.

Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said an investigation was underway and declined to comment further.

The director of Colombo National Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, said Faraz is in intensive care and will undergo an operation shortly.

The newspaper has been harshly critical of the government. and its outspoken editor Lasantha Wickrematunga was killed four years ago. However, the newspaper's criticism has not been as sharp since it was bought by a businessman close to the ruling party last year.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says Sri Lanka was the fourth most dangerous country for journalists in 2010. More than a dozen journalists have fled the country over the last four years, fearing for their safety and seeking refuge abroad.

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