Snaps of LTTE chief’s son spark anger

The makers of a documentary on the last days of the Sri Lankan conflict have released two photographs showing slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son, Balachandran, in captivity, claiming that the boy was executed by the Sri Lankan security forces as shown in a photograph released last year.

The British satellite television channel, Channel 4, had last year aired a documentary by the same filmmaker titled Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, which showed the bullet-ridden body of the boy, with forensic analysis of the injuries suggesting he was shot from close quarters.

The newly released photographs are reported to have been taken by the same camera, just two hours earlier, showing him alive and unharmed. They show Balachandran sitting in what seems to be a bunker and eating something, wearing the same shorts he had on when he was shot.

"The new photographs are enormously important evidentially because they appear to rule out any suggestion that Balachandran was killed in cross-fire or during a battle. They show he was held, and even given a snack, before being taken and executed in cold blood," Callum Macrae, director of the new documentary, No Fire Zone, was quoted as telling British daily The Independent.

The release of the photographs is expected to put pressure on Lanka during the UNHRC meeting in Geneva in March. Also, with the photographs already triggering protests, there will be pressure on the Indian government to act tough — and seen to be doing so — on the Rajapaksa government at the meet. Several parties have demanded action against President Mahinda Rajapaksa for war crimes.

The latest photographs are glimpses from the "138 days of hell that forms the central narrative" of the documentary, said the makers. Made to "jolt the international community and audience to call for action", the documentary will be screened at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival during the UNHRC meet.

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