Doctors in former LTTE-held areas under interrogation

June 5th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, June 5 (DPA) Three doctors who provided information to the media during the height of the military operations against Tamil Tigers in northern Sri Lanka were being questioned by police before being charged in the courts, a police spokesman said.
The three doctors, now in police custody, treated people injured in the conflict and also gave media interviews and e-mailed photographs on a daily basis before the government re-took the last rebel-held territory in the country and killed the guerrilla leadership May 18, ending a 26-year conflict.

The doctors were being questioned about whether they had collaborated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told journalists in Colombo that the police also were investigating whether they had provided misleading information.

The statements by the doctors to local and international media were also picked up by the UN and international agencies and used in their official reports.

The doctors - Thiyagaraja Varatharajan, S. Sathiyamoorthy and N. Shanmugaraja - were warned by the government to leave the rebel-held areas but they refused, remaining to provide medical attention to the people trapped by the conflict.

They eventually departed two days before the LTTE’s leadership - including its top commander, Velupillai Prabhakaran - was killed and the government declared victory over the rebels.

The doctors were in charge of providing medical care for the injured after all hospitals in the area were closed and patients were being moved from place to place as makeshift hospitals were put up.

The doctors could be held for one year under emergency regulations but were likely be produced in court after their questioning.

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