British war crimes police arrest man for murder of Tamil journalist in Jaffna

The Metropolitan Police’s war crimes team has arrested a 48-year-old man in Britain for the murder of Tamil journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in Jaffna more than 20 years ago – marking the first time UK authorities have proceeded to arrest for war crimes committed in Sri Lanka.

In a breaking development, British police said the man was arrested at an address in Northamptonshire on Tuesday February 22 “as part of a proactive operation”.

“He was arrested on suspicion of offenses under section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001,” the Metropolitan Police added, noting that the suspect has since been released but is still doing so. the subject of an investigation.

“This is an important update in what is a sensitive and complex investigation,” said Commander Richard Smith, who heads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

“There will always be people who may have information, particularly in relation to Mr. Nimalrajan’s murder, and we urge those people to come forward and help secure justice for Mr. Nimalrajan’s family.”

The Tamil families of the disappeared pay their respects to the journalist murdered in Vavnuiya last year.

Nimalarajan, a veteran journalist who contributed to the BBC’s Tamil and Sinhalese services, the Tamil daily Virakesari and the Sinhalese weekly Ravaya, was murdered at his home in Jaffna on October 19, 2000.

Former BBC journalist Frances Harrison recalled her death, and the struggle for justice, in a 2004 article towards the end of her time on the island.

She detailed the night Nimalarajan was killed.

Two armed men broke into Nimalarajan’s house as he listened to the news on the BBC’s Tamil Service at night.

A man shot Nimalarajan five times in the head and chest. The other stabbed his elderly father; the medical report indicated that he had thirty-three centimeters of cuts on his face and neck.

Nimalarajan’s mother came out of the bathroom to see her husband and son bleeding on the floor. At that time, the assailants threw a hand grenade into the living room.

The mother and nephew were seriously injured. The gunmen left, shooting in the air as they passed.

All this, just a stone’s throw from a military checkpoint and during curfew hours.

Learn more in his article here.

The Committee to Protect Journalists declared shortly after his death:

“The attackers shot the journalist through the window of his office, where he was working on an article, and threw a grenade into the house before fleeing. The attack happened during curfew hours in a high security area in downtown Jaffna.

“Local journalists suspect that Nimalarajan’s reporting of vote-rigging and intimidation in Jaffna during recent parliamentary elections may have led to his assassination.”

The government-aligned paramilitary group, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), is suspected of carrying out the murder. Early last year, the Attorney General’s Department of Sri Lanka ordered the release of the suspects implicated in the murder case. At least two other suspects are believed to have been overseas.

Although more than 21 years have passed since the murder, no one has been held responsible for Nimalrajan’s murder.

The Metropolitan Police said specialist officers were supporting Nimalrajan’s family members.

His mother, Lily Theres Mylvaganam, who fought tirelessly for justice for her son, died in Canada last year. His father, Sangarapillai Mylvaganam, told Reporters Without Borders in 2018,

“It 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 brave journalist who served his community. The government could revive the investigation into my son’s murder if they wanted to. It is a question of political will. »

“We want justice to be done”

Learn more about the Metropolitan Police here.

To provide information, email the War Crimes Team directly at [email protected]

Comments are closed.