Five suspects acquitted in Raviraj murder

Five suspects acquitted in Raviraj murder

December 24, 2016   07:09 am

- By Yusuf Ariff

All five suspects arrested and charged in connection with the murder of late TNA Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj were acquitted and release by a special jury in Colombo High Court.

The case was heard before a special jury comprising seven members while the verdict in the case was read out by Colombo High Court Judge Manilal Vaidyatilaka after 12 midnight yesterday (23).

The suspects held were all Naval intelligence personnel who were acquitted and released after they were found not guilty by the special jury. The decision was reached after midnight following a trial which lasted over a month.

One of the suspects had died during the trial, according to reports. The jury has decided that the accused cannot be convicted based only on the fact that they were identified by several witnesses in the case.

The accused were charged on five counts under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and PenalCode. The High Court tried three of the suspects in absentia as they were absconding since the beginning of the investigations.

Another suspect former Police Constable Manamperige Sanjaya Preethi Viraj, had turned state witness in the case. He was released Thursday after in the remand custody for almost 20 months. 

Raviraj, who represented the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) from Jaffna district, died in hospital after being shot by unidentified gunmen in Colombo on November 10, 2006.   

He was shot as he left his house in Colombo for work. One of his guards, Sgt. Lakshman Lokuwella, was also killed in the attack.   

Mr Raviraj, a former mayor of Jaffna and a lawyer by profession, had his own law firm: “Raviraj and Associates”. 

He was a native of Chavakachcheri in the Thenmaratchy sector of Jaffna.  Raviraj was elected as a Councilor to the Jaffna Municipal Council in 1997.   

He was elected to the Parliament in the 2001 General Election for the first time representing Jaffna district and was re-elected in 2004.   

Raviraj’s murder took place within one year of the killing of veteran Eastern Province Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham. 

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