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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Shock at shooting of British-Sri Lankan journalist

The Foreign Office voiced its shock and serious concern Saturday over the shooting of a British-Sri Lankan journalist in a Colombo suburb.

 

Britain's South Asia minister Alistair Burt urged the Sri Lankan authorities to identify those behind the attack, which the United Nations' human rights chief called an assassination attempt.

 

Faraz Shauketaly, 54 -- a reporter with the privately owned Sunday Leader, whose editor was shot dead in 2009 -- was rushed to hospital for surgery on Saturday following the midnight assault at his home, according to colleagues.

 

It is the latest in a string of attacks against media on the island.

 

"The Sri Lankan authorities must quickly identify who committed this crime and bring them to justice," Burt said in a statement.

 

"There has been a range of attacks in Sri Lanka on journalists, civil society organisations and others in recent years. To date, too many incidents have had little investigation and no resolution.

 

"The UK and the European Union have urged the government of Sri Lanka to do everything possible to investigate such incidences and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."

 

Shauketaly, a dual British and Sri Lankan national, has been visited in hospital by British consular staff.

 

Meanwhile Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said she was "deeply disturbed" by the attack on a journalist from a publication that was strongly against the government until mid-2012.

 

Since then it has been purchased by a businessman seen as staunchly in favour of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

 

"I will be reporting to the Human Rights Council my concern over extra-judicial killings, abductions and this kind of treatment and suppression of freedom of expression," Pillay told Britain's Channel 4 television.

 

"Whoever tried to kill him obviously was targeting him. It's an act of attempted assassination so he needs to be protected immediately."

 

There needed to be a "proper investigation before we can conclude" whether there was any state involvement in the attack, she said.

 

"The Sri Lankan government swears by the integrity of their army and their police; well, it's time they demonstrated that."

 

- AFP

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