Protection for family of Chemmani witness

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 June 1999, 09:25 GMT]
The chairman of the Sri Lankan government funded Human Rights Commission (HRC) said security will be provided for the family of the key witness in the Chemmani mass grave case, Lance Corporal Somaratne Rajapakse, following death threats sent to his wife.

The chairman, S.M.Senevaratne, said the Mrs. Rajapakse received two letters urging her to persuade her husband not to be a witness in the case.

According to HRC sources the letters stated that, "as his wife it is your duty to approach your husband and persuade him not to travel to Jaffna. Your life and those of your children will be in danger if you fail to do."

Following the threats, an HRC official has been sent to Kegalle, where she is living with her children, Senevaratne said.

Rajapakse, who was convicted last July, along with several other Sri Lankan soldiers in the Krishanthy Kumaraswamy rape and murder case claimed during the trial that he had only helped bury the girl's body.

He also claimed to know where up to 400 bodies of civilians murdered by Sri Lankan troops were buried.

The excavation of the site at Chemmani in the Jaffna peninsula where the bodies are said to be buried is expected to begin on June 16.

Rajapakse, who is detained at Bohampara prison, will be brought to Colombo before being flown to Jaffna.

Three foreign observers, including two from the Amnesty International, are expected present in Jaffna during the excavation, said HRC sources.

They will arrive in Colombo on Friday said the sources.


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