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Sri Lankan court acquits soldiers over gang rape of Tamil woman 

A Sri Lankan court has acquitted four soldiers over the gang rape of a Tamil woman, after they had been found guilty and sentenced for the crime in 2015.

The four soldiers from Sri Lanka’s 572 Brigade, identified by The Island as P. I. Sunasinghe, D. Dhammika Pushpakumara, Priyantha Kumara and one other soldier, had initially been found guilty of raping the 27-year old Tamil mother of two in Kilinochchi in 2010, by the Jaffna High Court in 2015. They had been sentenced to at least 25 years imprisonment.

However, Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal acquitted the four men, according to The Island.

In 2015, then Judge M Elancheliyan said the crime was “unbearable and unforgivable since the victim’s dignity was damaged by them after the end of the war”.

A report by Yasmin Sooka, The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and The International Truth & Justice Project (ITJP) previously detailed the incident, which involved the soldiers sexually abusing another Tamil woman. The report said:

"When the victim, who could identify the alleged perpetrators, reported the crime to the local military camp, she was told to have a bath first. Then she was offered money by the military to go away but she insisted on lodging a complaint with the police. A judicial medical report confirmed sexual assault. At a court hearing in which the victim identified her attackers, there were reportedly a hundred military men present to intimidate the victim. The accused were arrested but released on bail after five months. Since then, one has been absconding from the hearings, while the victim has been repeatedly harassed and threatened by military and police, most recently in February and March 2014."

See the full ITJP report here.

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