Court restricts media coverage of Sri Lanka's mass grave

By Kithsiri Wijesinghe

Restrictions have been placed on media coverage of a mass grave believed to be the largest discovered in Sri Lanka's war torn Tamil area.

The recently appointed Magistrate for  Mannar has banned experts unearthing bodies from speaking to journalists on the progress of ongoing investigations at the SATHOSA mass grave.

Forensic teams have so far unearthed 140 bodies including those of women and children.

Some had deep cut marks.

Court registrar

Since excavations commenced in May, Judicial Medical Officer Dr Saminda Rajapakshe and lead Forensic Archeologist Professor Raj Somadeva used to share information with journalists.

The newly appointed Mannar Magistrate T Saravanaraj has now named the court registrar as the official media spokesman who is not known to be a competent forensic expert.

"The judge will be visiting the mass grave site daily and get reports from experts, which will be given to the registrar. Journalists should get there information from the registrar," an expert at the site who preferred to remain anonymous told JDS.

No reason has been made public.

A Tamil journalist from Mannar speaking to JDS on condition of anonymity expressed fears that the SATHOSA mass grave will face the same fate of another burial site unearthed from the same area.

Excavations of the Thiruketheeswaram mass grave with at least 82 bodies discovered in 2013 was halted abruptly without identifying the victims.☐


Related news:

15.06.2018   Sri Lanka: Ten bodies found in Tamil area mass grave
27.06.2018   Excavations at mass grave with children risks closure
20.07.2018   50 bodies found in Sri Lanka mass grave, including children
27.07.2018   “Deep and unusual” lacerations on Sri Lanka mass grave bones
31.07.2018   Bodies of child and adult found side by side in Sri Lanka mass grave
09.08.2018  Sri Lanka: Mass grave out of bounds for Journalists
28.08.2018  Bodies in Sri Lanka mass grave over 100 and counting


Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.