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Nine journalists killed since Jan. ’06 - Dinesh

Upto yesterday, nine journalist had been killed and 27 attacked since January 01, 2006, Chief Government Whip Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament.

Five journalists had been abducted and four of them found, the Minister said.

Answering a question for oral answers, raised by Colombo District UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, the Minister said that police had commenced investigations into the killings with the assistance of the Colombo Crime Division and the Criminal Investigation Department.

Asked whether any of the killers had been identified or clues found, he said: "As per reports of the officers of the Division, positive information with regard to suspects has been received."

He was unable to reveal any further information or names of suspects, as the investigations had been finalised and the cases were now in Courts. The confidentiality of the investigation into the incidents should be maintained, the Minister said.

Asked for details pertaining to the attack on the Rupavahini Corporation on December 27, 2007, Minister Gunawardena said: "The SSP (Colombo South) has reported that a complaint had been received by the Cinnamon Gardens police that an officer of the Rupavahini Corporation had been assaulted by an outsider on December 27, 2007.

Asked to state the names of outsiders and the name of the politician involved, Minister Gunawardena replied that SSP (Colombo South) had reported the name of Bastiyange Don Nuwan Gunathilake as the outsider and Minister Mervyn Silva as the politician.

According to the report of the Director of the CID, evidence had been received against only B. D. Nuwan Gunathilake on the assault of Mr. E. M. P. Chandrasekare, Director News of the Rupavahini Corporation. Accordingly, the suspect had been taken into custody and facts submitted to the Chief Magistrate Court under No. B9413/1/2008. Subsequently he had been released on bail on January 18, 2008, the Minister said.

The CID was conducting further inquiries, he said.

Asked to give details related to the loss caused to the Rupavahini Corporation due to the incident, the Minister said that two doors, one clay pot and two electric lamps had been damaged and the value of the damage to these items had been estimated as Rs. 13, 300/-.

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