British-Sri Lankan journalist shot in his bedroom

Faraz Shauketaly shot by three men at his Colombo home

Doctors have successfully removed a bullet from the neck of an investigative journalist in Sri Lanka who was shot by unidentified gunmen who stormed into his home and fired at close range. The journalist works for the same publication whose former editor-in-chief was murdered four years ago in an attack his wife blamed on the government.

Faraz Shauketaly, who holds both British and Sri Lankan citizenship, was shot by three men who broke into his house in a Colombo suburb late on Friday evening. He was taken to Colombo National Hospital where he underwent surgery to remove the bullet this afternoon. A hospital employee said the 54-year-old remained in intensive care but was in a stable condition.

Mr Shauketaly was employed by the Sunday Leader newspaper, one of the few publications in Sri Lanka that prints articles critical of the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In January 2009, its then editor-in-chief Lasantha Wickrematunga was murdered. Before his death he had penned an essay saying that if he was killed the government would have been responsible. His killers have still not been traced.

According to the Sunday Leader’s current editor, Shakuntala Perera, Mr Shauketaly, had been in his bedroom in his home in the Mt Lavinia neighbourhood, speaking with a sub-editor who was working with him on a story, when the attackers broke in.

“He was talking with the sub-editor. She realised the phone had been switched off and she wanted to know what had happened,” Ms Perera told The Independent.

“We rang on another phone but there was no answer. After ten minutes someone picked up the phone and told us he had been shot.”

Ms Perera said the paper had received no threats ahead of the attack. But she said two weeks ago, a group of four unidentified men had gone to Mr Shauketaly’s home and spoke to the journalists’s domestic help to confirm that it was his residence.

Mr Shauketaly is known for his investigative articles on a variety of topics. Ms Perera said that in recent weeks he had been working on a series of articles that focussed on corruption both within “the private and government sectors”.

One of the issues he had been looking into were developments in the Golden Key Credit Card Company affair, a twisting tale relating to a private company that collapsed with losses of $230m, leaving thousands of angry depositors. Those people are still trying to get their money back.

Sri Lanka is one of the most perilous places for journalists. Since 2006, at least 14 journalists or media workers have been killed, according to figures compiled by Amnesty International. Many more have fled overseas. Many of those still working in Sri Lanka privately admit they are obliged to operate with a level of self-censorship.

A spokesman for President Rajapaksa, Mohan Samaranayake, told the AFP that the president had ordered the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the attack.

It is understood that Mr Shauketaly had recently returned to Sri Lanka from Britain, where his wife and children live. An official at the British High Commission in Colombo said: “We are aware of, and concerned about, the shooting of Mr Shauketaly, a journalist and British national. He will be visited by a member of the consular staff today and given further assistance as required. At this time, our thoughts are with Mr Shauketaly and his family.”

The Sunday Leader has a history of being critical of the government. Yet some observers claim that since last summer, when it was partly sold to a businessman considered close to the party of Mr Rajapaksa, it has been less outspoken. Ms Perera has denied that it has lost its independence, telling the BBC last year: “It’s not just any other paper, it’s really something people believe in and that needs to carry on.”

The paper’s former editor-in-chief, Lasantha Wickrematunga, was shot dead by two men on motorbikes in January 2009. In the preceding weeks, the paper had been increasingly critical of the government’s military operation against Tamil rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had launched a bloody, decades-long insurgency against the state.

The government operation ultimately crushed the LTTE in the spring of 2009 but a team of UN investigators concluded that up to 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed as well. This week, the Sri Lankan military’s own panel of inquiry announced it had concluded the country’s armed forces did not shell civilians.

Mr Wickrematunga had often clashed with the government. In a now-celebrated essay he had written in the weeks before his death and which was subsequently published posthumously by the Sunday Leader, he pointed the finger of blame at the government. His wife also accused the government for the killing. The government has always denied the accusation.

In his essay, Mr Wickrematunga wrote: “No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism.”

Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits