Sri Lanka directs police to locate witnesses

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Government has asked the police to locate the witnesses of a case famously known as “Trinco Five” in which five Tamil youths were killed in 2006 during the height of the military campaign against the LTTE so that it could reopen the case.
Earlier this month, a court in the eastern town of Trincomalee freed at least 13 policemen charged for the murder of the five students in the town 13 years ago.
The Magistrate MHM Hamza released them due to lack of sufficient material evidence after the police’s CID had filed charges against them for murder.
Among the 36 witnesses named, it was reported to the court that two of the eye witnesses were now living in Switzerland and Britain.
The Attorney General in a letter dated July 9 addressed to the police stated that the magistrate’s order on July 3 does not prevent him from “re-initiating a non summary if new material is discovered”.
Accordingly, the police has been asked to locate three witnesses and report back to the Attorney General.
The LTTE had run a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The gunning down of the five students at the Trincomalee beach became a high profile human rights abuse case which was raised by international human rights groups at the UN Human Rights Council resolutions on Sri Lanka’s rights accountability.
The UNHRC had advocated an international investigation with foreign judges and prosecutors to probe rights abuses committed by both the LTTE and the troops. The parents of the five claimed they fled the country after receiving death threats. (PTI)

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