Sri Lanka strongly denied fresh allegations Tuesday that the 12-year-old son of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was brutally killed at a close range by the Sri Lankan forces.
New photographs of Velupillai Prabakaran’s son, Balachandran Prabakaran, just before he was shot dead, form part of the new evidence in the forthcoming UK’s Channel 4 feature documentary “No War Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” the culmination of three years of research, which will be broadcast for the first time next month in Geneva, Switzerland, to coincide with the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting.
The three photographs, which digital image analysis indicates were taken with the same camera, show the young boy before and after he was shot dead in captivity.
In one photograph, he is pictured looking distressed and having some kind of snack in the background of a sandbag bunker and evidently surrounded by his captives. In the second photograph, he is seen looking up.
The third photograph shows the boy lying on the ground with five bullet wounds to his chest.
Separate video footage, also apparently filmed by government soldiers, shows the bodies of five men alongside the boy’s body. They appear to have been LTTE cadres, probably his bodyguards, who were apparently stripped, bound, blindfolded and then shot in the head.
The footage, dated May 18, 2009, is believed to have been shot by members of Sri Lankan forces as a trophy video to mark the government’s victory over the Tamil rebel group after a civil war, which lasted for 26 years.
The video and stills, which showed Balachandran’s body shortly after his execution, were released in March last year by the makers of “No War Zone.”
“The new photographs released [Tuesday] give us a chilling insight into what happened before [Balachandran’s killing],” Callum Macrae, the director of “No Fire Zone,” wrote in the Indian daily the Hindu.
“They appear to demonstrate that the situation was calm and orderly. Balachandran was given a snack and some water. There was time to take photographs while he was held in the bunker and again afterward. The forensic analysis report on the photographs concludes that there is 'no evidence to indicate fabrication, manipulation or the use of effects to create the images' and concludes that the photographs 'appear to be an accurate representation of the events depicted,'” Macrae wrote.
The Sri Lankan Army alleged that whenever a UNHRC meeting is to take place, pro-Tamil separatist organizations abroad come up with various allegations to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image.
“They use lies, half-truths, rumors and numerous forms of speculation, and interestingly these come up as we get closer to a UNHRC meeting but die down thereafter,” military spokesman R. Wanigasooriya told Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam, reiterated the military spokesman’s claims, saying the pictures were morphed and were being circulated ahead of the U.N. meeting to embarrass the nation.
"These allegations are not new. You aired them last year around the same time on the eve of the International Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. Now, the next session is around the corner, and parties aligned with the LTTE may want to embarrass Sri Lanka," Kariyawasam was quoted as saying by India Today.