Eight helmeted men on four motorcycles forced Wickramatunga's
car to the side of a busy street outside
Wickramatunga, editor-in-chief of the weekly The Sunday Leader, was a prominent senior Sri Lankan journalist known for his critical reporting on the government. According to his brother, Lal Wickramatunga, chairman of the paper's parent company, Leader Publications, the editor had received anonymous death threats for months.
Lasantha Wickramatunga's wife, Sonali
Samarasinghe-Wickramatunga, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that
the couple had been followed by two men on a motorcycle as they ran errands earlier
that morning. Samarasinghe-Wickramatunga left
Wickramatunga foresaw his own murder. In an editorial written shortly before his death and published three days after the murder, he said: "Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened, and killed. It has been my honor to belong to all those categories and now especially the last."