“The Sunday Leader” newspaper has taken steps to immediately terminate the services of its Co-Editor Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, and her husband Mr. Romesh Abeywickrema, the Editor of its Business Section.
Ms. Mandana along with her husband and their 12 year old daughter left the country on the 17th September at dawn. Later she told the media that she intends to stay abroad for a while due to the rising death threats leveled against herself and her family.
Both Ms. Mandana and her husband had had informed “The Sunday Leader” administration that they are going to go abroad for a while.
In response, “The Sunday Leader” administration had asked to produce their news reports and feature articles through the internet, Even though she is unable to be at offiice physically, the administration has even promised that they would be given their salaries as usual.
However, an official in “The Sunday Leader” told “Sri Lanka Mirror” that Ms. Mandana and her husband were notified yesterday (04) through E-mail that their services are no longer required,
Attempts made by “Sri Lanka Mirror” to contact Ms. Mandana in order to get more information regarding the matter, were unsuccessful.
On the 24th of August, an armed gang broke into Ms. Mandana’s house and for nearly 3 hours they had rummaged through the house trying to locate a particular dossier. However, after the arrival of the police in the nick of time, a shootout followed between them and the thugs which resulted in the death of one intruder and the arrest of the rest.
After this incident, another unidentified gang had broken into her house once again on the 8th September and had stolen a computer.
“The Sunday Leader” which was founded by Late Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge, was later bought by Asanga Seneviratne, the rugby coach of the President’s eldest son MP Namal Rajapaksa, after Mr. Wickrematunge’s murder.