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Prabhakaran tortured before being shot dead?

By T V Sriram in Colombo
June 15, 2009 15:03 IST
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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was captured alive and 'tortured' by the army before being shot dead in northern Wanni, a Jaffna-based human rights group has alleged in a report that has been dismissed as 'ridiculous' by the Sri Lankan government and military.

The University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna (UTHR-J), in a report -- A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding -- also cited 'army sources' as saying that Prabhakaran's 12-year-old youngest son Balachandran was killed after capture.

The government has stoutly denied such inferences.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, dismissed reports attributed to UTHR and said there was 'absolutely no truth' in claims of Prabhakaran or any other 'hardcore' being caught alive, The Island newspaper reported on Monday.

Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka and Major General Kamal Gunarathne too have denied reports that Prabhakaran was taken alive. They said the LTTE chief was killed during a gunfight in the Nanthi Kadal lagoon along with dozens of LTTE fighters.

The UTHR report detailed on 'constantly changing official versions' of the LTTE supremo's death and quoted high-level military sources as saying that 'Prabhakaran was tortured probably at Division 53 HQ in the presence of a Tamil government politician and a General.'

'Several army sources have said that Prabhakaran's (younger) 12-year-old son Balachandran was killed after capture. Our (sources) said that he was killed in front of his father,' said the UTHR(J), which has been critical of excesses both by the military and the LTTE.

'Our sources in addition to several others have said that all the LTTE persons remaining in the NFZ (no fire zone) were massacred,' said the group that was formed in 1988 at the University of Jaffna 'to document human rights violations by all forces'.

Among other things, the UTHR also said, 'The LTTE was defeated and the leader (Prabahakaran) was covering behind the people hoping for a Congress defeat in India.'

The Island meanwhile quoted 'a senior officer who had been at Nanthi Kadal at the time of the recovery of the LTTE leader's body' as saying that 'troops found his body as President Mahinda Rajapaksa was making a special statement in Parliament on May 19'.

'He said that nothing could be as ridiculous as the claim that the Prabhakaran was probably tortured at the headquarters of the 53 Division in the presence of a Tamil government politician,' the report said.

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T V Sriram in Colombo
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