Skeleton find halts Chemmani exhumation

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 June 1999, 11:44 GMT]
The exhumation of the alleged mass graves at Chemmani in the Jaffna peninsula has been postponed till July 15, to allow forensic experts to submit a report on two skeletons found during today, said sources today.

The two skeletons, believed to be of males, were exhumed from one of several sites alleged to contain mass graves which had been pointed out by the main witness in the case, former Sri Lanka Army solider, Somaratne Rajapakse.

Digging resumed at one of the sites this morning around 9.30 said sources.

They said one of the skeletons had its hands tied with a rope and pieces of a trouser and a T-shirt were also recovered from the gravesite.

The Magistrate, M.Illancheliyan, postponed further exhumation of gravesite and ordered the CID and forensic experts to submit a report to the courts before July 15.

New date for the exhumation will be announced by the courts when it meets on July15, they said.

The witness, Rajapaske is expected to be flown back to Colombo this evening or tomorrow.

Rajapakse told the courts yesterday he was aware of 18 gravesites in the Chemmani and Ariyalai areas, which contained bodies of people who he says, were killed by SLA troops.

He said he could point out the definite locations of ten and indicate the rough locations of five.

Rajapakse was sentenced to death last year for his involvement in the rape and murder of Jaffna schoolgirl Krishanthy Kumaraswamy and her mother, brother and neighbour, but says he only helped bury the victims' bodies.


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