Sri Lanka Brief
NewsEditor Threatened

Editor Threatened


Indika Sri Aravinda
The Editor of The Sunday Leader, Frederica Jansz last Thursday (27) received a death threat via the post to her residence. Frederica lodged a complaint with the Mirihana Police after receiving the threat.This is not the first time and it certainly will not be the last that Editors at this newspaper receive death threats. Sometimes handwritten, sometimes typed, these vicious little notes (this time it was four pages long) always come anonymously posted by persons too cowardly to be identified.

Last Thursday, a letter such as this arrived at the home of Frederica Jansz. Handwritten, the letter spewed venom and gutter language. The letter threatens Frederica warning her that irrespective of the verdict due on November 18, in relation to what is known as the ‘White Flag Case’ she will be dealt with.

Interestingly the letter carried some facts related to the White Flag case in which Frederica was the key witness. For instance the letter mentions the name of two staffers at The Sunday Leader Raknish Wijewardena (no longer at the paper) and Photographer Thusitha Kumara both of whom accompanied Frederica to the interview she conducted with former army commander Sarath Fonseka after which she subsequently published a Page One Lead story and interview on December 13, 2009.  Both Wijewardena and Kumara were not named as witnesses in the White Flag case.  Yet, if indeed this letter has emanated from an army person in the Sinha regiment (formerly under Fonseka’s command) as the writer attempts to have us believe, it is indeed more than strange that a soldier or officer could have recalled the intricacies of Frederica’s evidence in court to name both Raknish Wijewardena and Thusitha Kumara, despite the fact that neither of these two men were named as witnesses nor did they ever appear in court.

 Furthermore, if indeed a soldier or officer of the Sinha regiment wrote this letter it is strange that he would have a political insight to predict a future regime naming persons such as the former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Sarath Fonseka, Wijeydasa Rajapaksa, Tiran Alles, Mangala Samaraweera and Anura Kumara Dissanayake who “will have to take over this country.”

 All the previous written death threats Frederica had received had been sent by post to the office. This is the first time such a letter was sent to her home. Even an army officer who sat daily in the Colombo High Court where the White Flag case was being heard could not have known the address of the Editor’s residence.  Only on one instance has Frederica been served summons and a letter of demand to her home address.
 This is not the first time that Frederica has been threatened in relation to the White Flag case. Previously, a photograph of her arriving in court which was published in the daily Island newspaper was cut out and posted to her with a written warning that it was only a matter of time before she would be killed.

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