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Sri Lanka 19 October 2006

Six years of impunity in murder of BBC journalist

Police and some judges deliberately sabotaged and then blocked judicial steps against members of the pro-government EPDP party implicated in the murder in 2000 of Tamil journalist Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan at his home in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, said Reporters Without Borders

The result has been that six years after the death of the BBC World Service journalist, his killers have still not been tried or punished, said the worldwide press freedom organisation, calling on the government to reopen the investigation into his death.

This was the promise made recently by the government spokesman on defence matters, Keheliya Rambukwella, to the international press freedom mission to Sri Lanka, it said.

This sixth anniversary of the cowardly murder of the Tamil journalist on 19 October 2000 comes at a particularly challenging time for press freedom in Jaffna. Four media workers, three of them working for the newspaper Uthayan, have been killed since the start of the year in this town which is held by government troops. Members of the EPDP are again suspects in some of these attacks.

All the suspects in the Nimalarajan case, members of the EPDP, were released in 2003, by a court in Vavuniya in the north of the country. Moreover the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) never managed to interview one of the suspects, Sebastianpillai Ramesh, better known as "Napoleon". Police never seriously made use of the physical evidence, including cartridge cases and fingerprints.

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