Replacement judge clears Chemmani visit

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 March 1999, 10:58 GMT]
A newly appointed additional magistrate for Jaffna who was flown in this morning with the special team of CID officers, senior state counsel and government forensic experts granted permission in the Jaffna courts today for inspecting the alleged grave site at Chemmani and taking a soil sample from the general area for analysis.

The new judge took up the case for hearing around 10.30 a.m. at the Jaffna courts.

Mr.N. Arulsaakaran who had been appointed on February 2 in Colombo as the additional judge and magistrate for Jaffna, however, refused the application by the state counsel for a date within two weeks to begin the exhumation.

The magistrate said that he cannot give a date for exhuming the alleged mass gravesite before ex-Lance Corporal Somaratna Rajapaksa is brought to Jaffna to identify its location in Chemmani.

The judge also inquired about the current condition of the area and was told that it was still inundated.

The magistrate granted state counsel Yasantha Kothagoda's application for inspecting the Chemmani area today and for taking a soil sample for analysis under his (the magistrate's) supervision.

Later, the Colombo team, comprising CID Director Keerthy Gajanayaka, seven senior CID officers, the state counsel, forensic experts and journalists went to Chemmani.

The soil expert from the department of Geology of the University of Peradeniya took soil samples from the area for testing.

The magistrate postponed the case for March 26.

He directed that the soil expert should present his findings at the next hearing.

Meanwhile security arrangements in Jaffna were very tight while the special team from Colombo for the Chemmani case was in town said sources.


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