For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Hemantha Randunu and Norman Palihawadana
A special police team on Sunday arrested a suspect who is alleged to have unleashed the brutal attack on the News Editor of the Jaffna based ‘Uthayan’ newspaper, Gnanasunderam Kuganathan, on July 29.
The initial investigations have revealed that the assailant, a resident of Jaffna, had been given a contract by a lawyer to attack the journalist.
The police said that the suspect was a notorious criminal and had committed over 50 robberies in the Kopai area.
Investigations revealed that the criminal had been severely assaulted by residents in a neighbourhood in Kopai after they caught him trying to burgle a house.
He had been admitted to the Jaffna hospital and due to the seriousness of his injuries transferred to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila from where the police picked him up.
The lawyer who had given him the contract had been a Tamil National Alliance supporter and had later supported the People’s Alliance.
“The Uthayan newspaper had been severely critical about the conduct of the lawyer and over this issue he had harboured a grudge against the News Editor of the newspaper,” the police said adding that the lawyer had given a contract to the suspect to attack the journalist.
The lawyer had appeared in Court for the cases filed against the suspect and due to this connection he had agreed to attack Kuganathan with the help of some of his accomplices, free of charge.
The law enforcement officers said that the arrest of the lawyer and two more suspects is imminent.
The journalist was brutally assaulted by at least two unidentified persons when he was returning home after work, causing serious head injuries.
Certain elements attempted to link the government and security forces personnel to the attack.
The suspect is alleged to have told the police that he was also attacked by an unknown gang after the attack on Gnanasundaram. He had been released from the Jaffna remanded prison recently.
Under the interrogation, the suspect had apparently spilled the beans, implicating the lawyer.