Ex-SLA troops identify further graves
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 September 1999, 16:04 GMT]
Former Sri Lanka Army Corporal Somaratna Rajapaksha and ex-soldier S.A.Perera today identified five more grave sites in the Ariyalai area in Jaffna where Tamil civilians arrested by Government troops were allegedly killed and buried.
They identified two grave sites near an SLA camp at Columbuthurai, where four people are allegedly buried.
According to the witnesses, Selvaranam - an employee of the Educational Department - Suthahar, Partheepan and another unknown victim were buried at Columbuthurai grave sites.
Rajapaksha said one of the grave sites was covered by a heap of sand, where previously it had been flat. This gave him reason to suspect that the grave site might have been tampered with and the bodies removed.
The third grave site identified by the witnesses today was near Stanley college and two others were near Jeya building at Ariyalai.
Rajapaksha further identified another location near Koddukinathady Pilayar temple. He alleged Logeswaran, who was arrested in the Ariyalai area, was severely beaten and tortured by Lt. Duduvelle at Sri Lanka Army camp near Koddukinathady Pilayar temple and buried in that site.
However, Rajapaksha was uncertain of the site's exact location.
He told the judge, M.Ilancheliyan, that bodies could be found if the alleged sites were dug deeper and wider. He also made a request for legal assistance from the courts.
The judge adjourned the hearing until September 6 at 9 a.m. Excavation of the sites will also begin on September 6.
The judge ordered the police to take the witnesses to Colombo immediately and attach a security detail to them.
During the last three days of the hearing, 25 alleged grave sites have been identified by the witnesses who claim that nearly 160 bodies are buried in them.