CID ordered to publish ads calling for witnesses in Matale mass grave case

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Matale Magistrate and Additional District Judge Chathurika Silva yesterday ordered the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to publish advertisements in all three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English, asking the relatives of those who disappeared during the 1987–‘89 period, in the Matale District, to come forward and give evidence in the mass grave case.

When the case was called yesterday, the Magistrate also told the CID that they should start DNA testing on 155 skeletons and other remains after receiving the report from the International Police, Interpol, on the bone samples sent to it.

Earlier, the CID told in the Court that the bone parts were being currently investigated by the international police and the report was pending.The Judge also ordered that statements be recorded from the then Medical Superintendent of the Matale hospital, doctors and administrative officers. The CID informed court that they had already started recording statements from those persons.

Watagala said that another 22 relatives of disappeared persons, in the Matale District, had also submitted their affidavits to the Court saying that their sons and daughters were forcibly taken by the Army personnel from their homes.

The Magistrate would announce its decision as to whether the Court would accept their affidavits and include them as witnesses in the case at the next hearing date on June 28.

Forensic and archeological experts have confirmed that the skulls and other skeletal remains, unearthed from the mass grave in the Matale hospital grounds, belong to the 1987–90 period. Around 155 skeletons were unearthed from the site.

Sunil Watagala, Upula Kumarapperuma and eight other lawyers appeared on behalf of the victims in the case and the JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake also appeared before the Matale Magistrate Court yesterday.

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