Sole survivor in Mirusuvil massacre identifies army accused

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 February 2003, 21:54 GMT]
The sole survivor in the Mirusuvil massacre, Mr. Ponnuthurai Maheswaran, Thursday identified at the Colombo High Court all five soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) indicted for the murder of eight Tamil civilians when they returned to their Mirusuvil homes to look for belongings on 19th December 2000, legal sources said.

The accused soldiers R.M.Sunil Ratnayake, R.W.Senaka Munasinghe, T.M. Jayaratne, S.A.Pushpa Saman Kumara and Gamini Munasinghe have been indicted on nineteen counts, including unlawful assembly with common intention to cause injury and murder of eight Tamil civilians, Ravivarman, Janasakthi, Santhan, Vilavarajah, Pratheepan, Prasad Jeyachandra and Theivakulasingham, legal sources said.

The trial-at bar comprised High Court Judges Mr.I.M.Imam (President), Mr.Sarath Ambepitya and Mr. Kumar Ekaratne. When the inquiry resumed Thursday the Senior State Counsel Sarath Jayamanne led the evidence of Ponnuthurai Maheswaran.

Earlier, Senior State Counsel Mr.Sarath Jayamanne had said in his opening address that the key witness in this case was Ponnuthurai Maheswaran and with his evidence the prosecution was planning to prove how the massacre had been committed.

Led by the State Counsel, Mr. Maheswaran said two army soldiers asked him to come to the camp. One soldier was carrying a gun and the other a knife, and they told him, "You are all Tigers."

Witness said that he replied, "We are not Tigers." He said that the two soldiers blindfolded him and tied his hands with his sarong and started assaulting him. Thereafter the soldiers pulled him up by his legs and hands and threw him on the ground. Witness fell on the barbed wire fence. The soldiers then took him to the other side of the land on foot. On his way, he said that he heard some persons crying in pain, and the cry came from the pit of a lavatory. The bodies of eight persons were later recovered from the lavatory pit. The witness said he then escaped from the custody of the army personnel who were at the scene.

Witness positively identified the five accused soldiers on the dock as persons who were responsible for the massacre of eight persons.

At this stage, further inquiry was put off for Monday.

Counsel Mr.Anil Silva appeared for the accused. Lawyers Mr.K.S.Ratnavelu and Mr.S., Shanmugalingam watched the interests of the victims.

 

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