Pro-Tamil Tiger editor shot dead
A leading journalist who wrote in support of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels has been abducted and shot dead in the capital, Colombo.
Dharmaretnam Sivaram, 46, was a senior editor of the Tamilnet website and a writer for an English-language paper.
He was abducted from a restaurant on Thursday and his body found early on Friday close to the parliament complex.
No one has yet admitted carrying out the attack. Mr Sivaram had been gagged and shot in the head, police said.
The Tamil Tigers have blamed Sri Lankan military intelligence and rival paramilitary Tamil groups for the killing of Mr Sivaram, who they said was a fearless champion of the Tamil nationalist cause.
Mr Sivaram had been close to the leader of a faction that broke away from the Tamil Tigers but his articles favoured the main rebel body.
Fleeing the east
The Tamilnet website said family members had identified the body, which has been taken for a post-mortem examination.
The government condemned the killing and ordered an immediate investigation.
He had been a good political analyst and had had a huge audience. We have lost a good writer
chief editor, Daily Mirror
The BBC's Dumeetha Luthra in Colombo says four men are reported to have driven off with Mr Sivaram after bundling him into a four wheel drive vehicle.
Before entering journalism Mr Sivaram had taken up arms in the cause of Tamil self-rule, fighting with the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam which, at the time, was a rival group to the Tamil Tigers.
Mr Sivaram's articles often focused on extreme groups of the Sinhala majority hostile to the Tigers' campaign for self-rule.
Last year police raided his home twice saying they were searching for weapons.
In 2001, he was stabbed and beaten up by unidentified men in his office in the eastern city of Batticaloa.
That year Mr Sivaram told the BBC's Frances Harrison his life was in danger after a state run newspaper accused him of being a spy for the Tamil Tigers.
Our correspondent Dumeetha Luthra says many journalists have now fled the east for fear of being targeted, but this latest attack raises concerns whether the violence is now moving in to the capital.
Mr Sivaram was a board member of Tamilnet and wrote a column for Colombo's English-language newspaper, the Daily Mirror.
He was from the east and had been close to Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, also known as Col Karuna, the leader of a rebel faction that broke away in March last year.
Amirthanathan Adaikkalanathan, a pro-rebel Tamil National Alliance legislator, told Associated Press Mr Sivaram's last article was critical of Col Karuna.
The chief editor of the Daily Mirror, Lalith Alahakoon, told the Associated Press: "I have to condemn the killing, whoever may be responsible. He had been a good political analyst and had had a huge audience. We have lost a good writer."
There has been an increase in violence this year amid a deadlock in negotiations between the Tamil Tigers and the government.
The violence is threatening a ceasefire in effect since February 2002. Peace talks between the two sides have been suspended since April 2003.
More than 60,000 people have died since the rebels began their fight for a homeland for minority Tamils in 1983.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/s ... 496627.stm
Published: 2005/04/29 16:21:33 GMT