New photographs have emerged which raise fresh questions about the conduct of Sri Lanka's armed forces during the final stages of the operation against Tamil rebels and have led to claims the 12-year-old son of the militants' leader may have been summarily executed.
A series of photographs taken a few hours apart and on the same camera, show Balachandran Prabhakaran, son of Villupillai Prabhakaran, head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). One of them shows the boy sitting in a bunker, alive and unharmed, apparently in the custody of Sri Lankan troops. Another, a few hours later, shows the boy's body lying on the ground, his chest pierced by bullets.
The images were taken in May 2009 at the very end of the Sri Lankan government's operation to crush the LTTE, which had launched a bloody, decades-long insurgency against the state that led to the deaths of perhaps 70,000 people. The authorities always said Prabhakaran's son was killed in cross-fire, as troops moved in to take the LTTE's last stronghold, located on a scrap of coastline near Mullaitivu in the north-east of the country.
But the images, contained in a new documentary, No Fire Zone, which will be screened at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival during the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March, suggest the boy was captured alive and killed at a later stage.
A forensic pathologist who examined the later images for the film-makers, said the boy was shot five times in the chest. Furthermore, propellant burns around the wound suggest he was shot at very close range.
“The new photographs are enormously important evidentially because they appear to rule out any suggestion that Balachandran was killed in cross-fire or during a battle. They show he was held, and even given a snack, before being taken and executed in cold blood,” claimed the film's director, Callum Macrae.
“It is difficult to imagine the psychology of an army in which the calculated execution of a child can be allowed with apparent impunity. That these events were also photographed and kept as war trophies by the perpetrators is even more disturbing.” The 12-year-old's father, Prabhakaran, was killed along with most of the senior leadership of the LTTE as Sri Lanka's army advanced on the rebels' position. There were reports at the time that several LTTE officials were shot and killed as they tried to surrender.
Prabhakaran's body was displayed on state television, part of the front of his skull missing, also suggesting he may have been shot at close range. The Sri Lankan authorities have always denied shooting anyone who was trying to surrender. Last night, Brigadier PR Wanigasooriya, an army spokesman, said Sri Lanka had been a repeated victim of “lies, half truths, rumours, and numerous forms of speculations”. “No substantive evidence have been presented for us to launch an investigation,” he added, referring to alleged human rights abuses.
Sri Lanka has always insisted it did what it could to ensure no civilians were killed during its operation against the LTTE. Yet a team appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed. The team said there were credible allegations both sides committed war crimes.
The photographs will place additional pressure on David Cameron to announce whether or not he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), e in Sri Lanka in November. A Downing Street official with Mr Cameron on his visit to India said on Monday that no decision had yet been taken. NGOs and organisations, among them the cross-party Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, have called on him to boycott the meeting.
“The venue should be changed in light of the various stances and continuing violations in Sri Lanka,” said Maja Daruwala of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “We feel that the Commonwealth would lose credibility by holding the meeting in Sri Lanka.”
Edward Mortimer, chairman of the Sri Lanka Campaign, said: “Does David Cameron want to be part of the photo-opp for a kleptocratic and increasingly authoritarian leader with the blood of thousands on his hands? Will he advise the Queen to do so? I think we should be told.”
When you hear this name or read it for the first time you might think that this name is related with Israel or with Zionist idea but in fact this region is just a national park in the United States of America. Zion area or protected Zion National Park is one of the U.S. national parks located in Utah's southwestern United States near Springdale houses and the area is about 229 square miles.
عند سماعك هذا الأسم أو قرأته لأول مرة قد تعتقد أن لهذا الأسم علاقه باسرائيل أو بفكرهم الصهيوني ولكن في الحقيقة هذه المنطقه ما هي إلا حديقة وطنية في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية . منطقة صهيون القومية أو محمية صهيون و بالإنجليزية Zion National Park هي إحدى المنتزهات الوطنية الأمريكية و تقع في ولاية يوتا بجنوب غرب الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية قرب سبرينغديل بيوتا و تبلغ مساحة المنطفة حوالي 229 ميل مربع
Strangely in this region, which was the cause of being a nature reserve is that the nature and the Geologic intervened in its composition and made it with this beauty and don't think that those images above and below is Photoshopped or made with photo editing programs, they are natural pictures showing us the magic of nature in this place. And the fact that this region has many mountains we find the sun does not reach them, but these mountains have been eroded somewhat making sunlight up to ponds within this region and reflect the exotic colors, especially blue and turquoise.
الغريب في هذه المنطقة والذي كان سبب في كونها محمية طبيعية هو أن الطبيعة و الجيلوجيا تدخلت في تكوينها و جعلها بهذا الجمال فلا تعقتد أن الصورة بالاعلى معدله بالفتوشوب أو ببرامج تعديل الصور ، فهذه الصورة طبيعية و تنقل لنا الطبيعة الساحرة في هذا المكان . و كون هذه المنطقه بها جبال كثيرة فنجد الشمس لا تصل إليها ولا إلى انفاقها ولكن هذه الجبال قد تأكلت إلي حد ما مما يجعل أشعه الشمس تصل إلي البرك الموجوده داخل هذه المنطقه و تعكس ألوان خلابه و خاصة اللون الأزرق و الفيروزي .
Since this place is not highlighted on sunlight well, we could find there a lot of algae of various types and reflect us that picturesque colors when the sunlight sheds upon them. Like any natural reserve, there must be a way to move people in. But within these reserves those picturesque tunnels considered that had formed by nature, is a place that travels through it people within those reserves and for sure no one will find the finest of these tunnels where natural and charming colors is found without human's interfere in its formation.
و كون هذه المنطقه لا يصلها أشعه الشمس جيداً فنجد إنها يوجد بها الكثير من الطحالب بأنواعها المختلفه و تعكس لنا هذه الطحالب تلك الألون الخلابه عندما يُسلط عليها أشعه الشمس الخلابة .و كأي محمية طبيعية لابد أن يكون هناك وسيله لتنقل الإشخاص فيها لكن داخل هذه المحميه تعتبر تلك الأنفاق الخلابه التي تكونت بفعل الطبيعة هي المكان التي يتنقل عبره اللإشخاص داخل تلك المحمية فالبطبع لن يجدوا اروع من هذه الأنفاق حيث الألوان و الطبيعة الساحرة التي تكونت دون أن يتدخل الأنسان في تشكيلها .
These are some pictures from inside the tunnels and the natural reserve ...