Army suspect assaults journalist

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 July 2001, 20:48 GMT]
A journalist was assaulted in court premises by a suspect in the Mirusuvil massacre case Wednesday morning. The suspect is one of fourteen soldiers accused of massacring civilians in Mirusuvil. The incident took place when the accused were brought to the court in Point Pedro, where the Chavakachcheri Magistrate's Court is sitting under heavy security.

The suspect, R.M.S.Ratnayake, reportedly assaulted Velupillai Thavachelvan when the latter was taking photographs.

Mr.Thavachelvan is the President of Jaffna Media Association, and a correspondent for local and foreign news agencies. He was among several local journalists present at the court. The journalists said they had obtained permission from the court to take photographs.

The incident was brought to the notice of the Magistrate, Mr.Annalingam Premshankar, in writing. Mr.Premshankar then reprimanded the suspect and ordered him to tender an apology in open court to the journalist concerned. The Magistrate also issued a stern warning to the Army officer who brought the suspects to court.

Meanwhile, further inquiry into the Mirusuvil massacre has been transferred to Anuradhapura on the instruction of the Attorney General, said the Magistrate.

Seven Tamil civilians, including a five-year old child were killed and their bodies buried at Mirusuvil in December 2000. The civilians were arrested by SLA soldiers when they went to Mirusuvil area on December 19, to collect their personal belongings from their homes. The victims had been displaced from Mirusuvil and were living in Point Pedro.

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