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Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002

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41 indicted in Bindunuweva camp massacre

By Nirupama Subramanian

COLOMBO, MARCH 26. More than 18 months after the Bindunuweva rehabilitation camp massacre, the Sri Lankan Government has brought formal charges against 41 people alleged to have been involved in the gruesome incident.

As many as 28 inmates of the Bindunuweva camp, located in the hill district of Badulla in central Sri Lanka, were brutally killed in a mob attack on the camp on October 24, 2000. The rest suffered severe injuries, including burns. The victims were suspected members or sympathisers of the LTTE detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They were being rehabilitated by the state in the open prison, part of an experimental project by the Government. The incident sent shock waves through Sri Lanka and led to four days of serious Tamil-Sinhala rioting in the region.

The charges were filed on Monday before a special three-judge bench which will begin hearing the case from May 13. Of those charged, 19 are policemen.

The 41 accused have been charged on 83 counts ranging from unlawful assembly to murder and attempted murder.

A commission of enquiry into the incident appointed by the President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, completed its work last November. Its findings have not been made public.

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