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Sri Lankan soldiers sentenced for gang rape of Tamil woman

A group of four Sri Lankan soldiers have been sentenced to 25 years in jail for the gang rape of a Tamil woman that took place in 2010.

The Jaffna High Court found the men from Sri Lanka’s 572 Brigade guilty of raping the 27-year old Tamil mother of two, in Kilinochchi in 2010.

The case is the first on the island of a Tamil rape victim identifying the perpetrators in court, and comes despite reports of repeated military intimidation. Whilst three of the soldeirs appeared in court, the fourth suspect had earlier absconded and remains at large.

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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