Reporters Without Borders

Ten years of impunity for Jaffna-based journalist's murderers

Ten years of impunity for Jaffna-based journalist’s murderers

Published on Monday 18 October 2010.
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On the 10th anniversary of Tamil journalist Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan’s murder in the northern city of Jaffna, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its hope that the Sri Lankan government will finally relaunch the police investigation into his death.

The Jaffna correspondent of the BBC’s Tamil and Sinhalese-language services and the Sri Lankan newspapers Virakesari and Ravaya, he was gunned down in his home on 19 October 2000. His killers also injured three other members of his family, including his parents.

Reconciliation in Sri Lanka will require tough government initiatives to combat impunity in high-profile cases such as Nimalarajan’s murder, one of the most shocking killings of the past decade. Now that the war is over, the police and the judicial authorities need the resources and political support that is essential in order to be able to identify and arrest those responsible.

Today, Nimalarajan’s father told Reporters Without Borders: “This has been 10 years of suffering for our family. But my son’s memory is still alive. I would like people to remember him as a courageous journalist who served his community. The government could relaunch the investigation into my son’s murder if it wanted to. It is a question of political will. We want justice to be done.”

Reporters Without Borders went to Jaffna in 2002 to investigate Nimalarajan’s murder. At that time, several suspects had been arrested but after a change of government, the police and certain judges deliberately sabotaged and then blocked the judicial proceedings, which were implicating members of the EPDP, a pro-government Tamil militia whose president is a minister in the current government.

Reporters Without Borders concluded that Nimalarajan, one of the leading Jaffna-based journalists working for the international media, was killed because of his coverage of the political violence before and during the 2000 parliamentary elections.

At least 25 journalists have been killed in Sri Lana since 2000, and three others have gone missing.

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