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Journalist attack suspects released on bail

Three suspects in the assault on two Tamil journalists last month in Mullaitivu were granted bail on Tuesday.

The Mullaitivu District Magistrates Court granted bail to the three remaining suspects iremanded in connection with the attack on Tamil Guardian correspondents Shanmugam Thavaseelan and Kanapathipillai Kumanan.

Two suspects had previously been released on bail out of the five suspects arrested in connection with the case.

Judge Lenin Kumar ordered the remaining three suspects to be released with strict protocols in place, on the basis of providing two guarantors of two lakh rupees each. The suspects were ordered to sign in court on the last Friday of the month. The judge additionally issued them a warning against threatening or intimidating witnesses in the case.

Additional reports were submitted to the court on behalf by the Police and the Forest Department during the trial.

The defence lawyers confirmed and accepted that two suspects in the case were present on the day of the incident as they underwent an identification process.

The bail was granted with consideration of the COVID infection conditions in prison.

The court has directed the police and the forest department to conduct appropriate investigations into the case. The case will be heard in court again on February 2, 2021.

Thavaseelan and Kumanan were attacked by unidentified individuals on October 12 while reporting on illegal deforestation. The journalists had captured the suspects illegally smuggling timber on video.

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