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Concerns raised over alleged death squad major being re-instated

The Committee to Protect Journalists today stated alarm that a Sri Lankan military intelligence official–who, according to news reports and court documents, is connected to attacks on at least three journalists–was reinstated to active duty.

Prabath Bulathwatte’s return as a major was declared on May 11 by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake in an interview with a news journalist.

In 2017, authorities detained five military intelligence officers in connection to the 2008 kidnapping and assault of columnist Keith Noyahr, CPJ reported at the time.

Maj. Bulathwatte was amongst the suspects, according to the Centre for Policy Alternatives, an independent think tank in the capital, Colombo.

During the investigation, police found evidence connecting the men to the 2009 murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramatunga, according to news reports.

Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been aware of one of the suspects in last month’s bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed more than 250 people, and that suspending the major had resulted in intelligence obstacles. Senanayake said that Bulathwatte had been placed on a special team that functions directly under him.

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