Body of Sri Lankan ex-rugby player exhumed for murder probe
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan investigators on Monday exhumed the body of a former international rugby player whose mysterious death three years ago was ruled an accident but is now suspected to have been a murder in which ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son is implicated.
Wasim Thajudeen was found dead in May 2012 inside a burning car that appeared to have crashed into a wall. Following accusations that police had covered up the circumstances of his death during Rajapaksa’s presidency, authorities reopened the case after a new president was elected in January.
Rajapaksa has denied any involvement by his son Yoshitha, 28, who is also a former member of Sri Lanka’s rugby union team. The former president says the allegations, mainly by members of the current ruling party, are politically motivated to discredit him ahead of parliamentary elections next week.
Rajapaksa is contesting for prime minister in a bid to revive his political career.
Thajudeen’s body was dug out Monday from a Muslim burial ground at a mosque outside Colombo, the capital, watched by a judge and other officials. The body was then transported to a lab.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the mosque, holding placards with anti-Rajapaksa slogans.
After initially ruling Thajudeen’s death an accident, police have now cited post-mortem reports saying his body had torture marks, as well as broken teeth and bones.