Video footage that allegedly shows Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners during the final stages of its battle against Tamil Tiger rebels was not fabricated, a British newspaper said yesterday.
The video, aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in August, was rejected at the time by the Sri Lankan military as fake to discredit security forces who defeated Tamil separatists in May after a bloody decades-long conflict.
The Times said an analysis by an independent forensic video specialist suggests no evidence of digital manipulation, editing or other special effects.
“This level of subtle detail cannot be virtually reproduced. This is clearly an original recording,” specialist Grant Fredericks said.
Fredericks, previously the head of the Vancouver police forensic video unit in Canada and an instructor at the FBI National Academy, carried out the analysis for the newspaper.
The disturbing footage shows a man dressed in army uniform shooting a naked, bound and blindfolded man in the back of the head, while the bodies of eight others can be seen nearby in a muddy field.
A 10th man was also shot in the same way toward the end of the video with men in the background gloating over the killings.
Fredericks told the paper there was strong evidence to rule out the use of actors.
“Even if the weapons fired blanks, the barrel is so close to the head of the ‘actors’ that the gas discharge alone leaves the weapon with such force it would likely cause serious injury or death,” he said.
Channel 4 stressed in its original report that it could not verify the authenticity of the video that it received from a group called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.
The group claims the video footage was taken in January by a soldier using a mobile phone.
The UN said at the time that it was viewing the footage “with the utmost concern” but could also not verify the video.
The newspaper report comes just days after the former head of Sri Lanka’s army alleged that the defense minister had ordered the killing in cold blood of surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders at the close of the civil war.
The allegations prompted a furious denial from the human rights minister.
Sri Lankan authorities have resisted international calls for a war crimes investigation after the UN alleged that more than 7,000 civilians had been killed during the first four months of this year alone.
The Tamil rebels were finally vanquished in May after nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed that left between 80,000 and 100,000 people dead.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference