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Sri Lankan minister pledges justice for Lasantha as family slam government failure

Sri Lanka's former foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera said the government was committed to delivering justice for the assassination of the former Sunday Leader editor, Lasantha Wickrematunga, as the family of the murdered journalist criticised the government's failure to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

In a statement marking the 9th anniversary of Mr Wickremetunga's death on January 8th, his brother, Lal, criticised the government for using the case as a "political tool" without delivering results. 

"What about bringing the perpetrators to book," he was quoted by AFP as saying, adding that the government's handling of the case led to a "sense of hopelessness". 

"Justice needs to be done not as a favour. Justice needs to be done to prevent repetition."

The current unity government which commences its fourth year in power today had previously pledged to delivery justice for the murder by January 2017. 

In a statement published in local media on Wednesday, the Mr Samaraweera claimed that the government had faced "obstacles" which he blamed on the previous regime's attempt "to cover up the murder". 

Stating that "failure is unacceptable", Mr Samaraweera called on people to support the government. 

"I call upon all media institutions, the legal fraternity, private sector and civil society organizations, once again to unite with us in rendering all possible aid to the police in this investigation, by seeking out and volunteering relevant information, identifying and safeguarding possible witnesses and responding to any requests promptly and thoroughly."