Magisterial inquiry into the homicide of Richard de Zoysa

On 18 February 1990 Richard de Zoysa, a 31 year old journalist, was abducted from his home near Colombo in Sri Lanka in the early hours of the morning by a group of men. His body was found in the sea on 19 February. He had been shot.

A magisterial inquiry into the killing was instituted shortly afterwards. About three-and-a-half months later Mr de Zoysa’s mother, Dr Manorani Saravanamuttu, who had been present at the abduction, claimed to have identified one of the abductors as Senior Superintendent of Police Ronnie Gunasinghe when watching a television news broadcast on which he had appeared.

The police authorities declined to arrest Mr Gunasinghe. Public concern about the killing had, meanwhile, been growing nationally and internationally. Both Dr Saravanamuttu and the lawyer she had instructed to represent her interests at the inquiry received death threats over the telephone and in writing.

Following representations made to Justice, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists, the ICJ decided to send an observer to witness the later stages of the magisterial inquiry. Mr. Anthony Heaton-Armstrong was appointed as its representative on 20 June 1990.

Sri Lanka-homicide of richard de zoysa-fact finding mission report-1990-eng (full text in English, PDF)

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