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Men in white van intimidate relatives of Mirusuvil massacre victims

An unknown group of men in a white van attempted to intimidate relatives of the Mirusuvil massacre victims earlier this month, as a Sri Lankan parliamentarian claimed the soldier who was convicted of the killings was freed by the president.

The four men reportedly visited neighbours of the relatives on January 11, collecting details of who was staying at each of their properties and their connections to those that were massacred almost 20 years ago.

The families filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna on Monday and requested the commission to help ensure their safety and security. 

Earlier this month an opposition parliamentarian applauded the government’s reported move to free Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake, who was sentenced to death in 2015 for the massacre.

8 Tamils, including 2 children, were killed in the town of Mirusuvil, after being arrested by Sri Lankan security forces on the10th of December 2000. The following day their bodies were found in a mass grave with their throats slashed, according to the District Medical Officer’s post-mortem report. All but two of the bodies had been stripped naked. The youngest to have been murdered was a 5-year-old child.

The killings have since been dubbed the Mirusuvil massacre.

Ponnathurai Maheswaran, who managed to survive and escape from the army, testified in court and identified at least five of the soldiers responsible. After a lengthy court process only Ratnayake, a member of the military’s elite Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), had been sentenced. The other men were cleared of all charges.