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Death sentences for two Sri Lankan soldiers over murder of Tamil man

Two Sri Lankan soldiers, including a commander, have been given death sentences for the 1998 murder of a Tamil man who had been taken in for investigation and later found dead with 21 wounds on his body.

On September 10, 1998, Gnanasingam Anton Gunasekaram of Thirunelvely, Jaffna was accused of being a terrorist and taken for investigation by Sri Lankan soldiers. He was later found dead with 21 assault wounds on his body.

The three suspects in the case were: Tony Bartemius, commander of the 51 camp in Achchuveli; Dixon Rajamandri, commander of the 512 camp in Jaffna Town; and Piyathasage Priyantha, a soldier serving in the 512 camp.

Bartemius was acquitted based on lack of evidence against him.

The remaining two suspects, Rajamandri and Priyantha were found guilty of the murder by Trincomalee High Court judge M. Ilancheliyan, and handed death sentences today.

The soldiers’ defence had claimed that the victim had died by falling off a higher storey building.

The case was heard a total of 54 times since 2009, before a verdict was reached.