The Sri Lankan police [official site] on Monday arrested five military officials in connection with the 2009 death of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge. The Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka said [press release, in Sinhala] that the those arrested for were responsible for Wickrematunge’s death and the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr. Wickrematunge was known for critiquing the government as part of his duties and an editor for a local newspaper. He was murdered in 2009 during a crackdown on members of the media. The individuals arrested are intelligence officers who are believed to be involved with the murder and other attacks on members of the media due to their knowledge of alleged crimes [News First reports].
The arrest comes after international criticism of the Sri Lankan governments security measures [Sunday Leader report]. The Sri Lankan Foreign Minster said [JURIST report] in February that the country will petition the UN for more time to investigate the allegations of war crimes occurring during the country’s 26-year-long civil war. A Sri Lankan panel of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms has recommended [press release] the appointment of a hybrid court composed of local and international judges to oversee the adjudication of allegations of war crimes committed during the nation’s civil war.