Witness safety stalls Allaippiddi massacre case

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 October 2007, 03:18 GMT]
The main witness to the Allaippiddi massacre, where 13 civilians were allegedly killed by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers in May 2006, informed Additional Magistrate of Kayts, T. Vignarajah, that he has sought safety in Vanni fearing for his life from Sri Lankan forces and that he will be unable to travel to Kayts to attend any court proceedings, legal sources in Jaffna said.

The witness told the Judge that he will be able to point out the soldiers involved in the massacre from an identification parade if the case is moved to a safer location where his safety is ensured.

The witness has stated that due to security concerns he fears to travel through Vavuniyaa and then sail from Trincomalee to reach Jaffna to appear in Kayts courts.

The magistrate had earlier informed the witness to attend an identification parade in Kayts to point out the naval personnel involved in the killings and had also promised to provide adequate protection for him.

Mr. R. T. Vignarajah, who is also the Magistrate of Jaffna courts had also stated that the security afforded in Jaffna peninsula covers Vavuniyaa, Trincomalee areas also, and ordered the police to arrange for the security of the witness to enable him to travel to Jaffna peninsula.

Responding to the appeal by the witness, Mr.Vignarajah stated that he has no power to transfer a case from one court to another, and this could be done only if a request is made in an appeal court.

The witness who alleged that he had seen SLN involvement in the Allaippiddi massacre had earlier fled from Jaffna peninsula to Ki'linochchi, fearing for his life, legal sources said.

Meanwhile, the Magistrate Mr.Vignarajah has indefinitely postponed the inquiry and also has directed that the police and naval personnel investigating into the case not to attend courts until further notice.

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) troopers from Ma'ndaitheevu Sri Lanka Navy camp are alleged to have surrounded a civilian house in Allaippiddi in Ma'ndaitheevu islet, west of Jaffna , on 13 May 2006 around 8:30 p.m. and opened fire killing 8 civilians, including a four months old baby and a four year old son, and their parents on the spot. One of the wounded succumbed to his wounds at Jaffna hospital. 13 civilians were killed in Jaffna islets on that day.

 

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