The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office Investigation on Sri Lanka(OISL) report has stated that it has reasons to believe the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam news presenter Shobana Dharmaraja alias “Isaipriya” was captured alive by the security forces who then killed her with gunshots to the head execution-style.
The OISL report says Isaipriya was pulled out of the Nandi Kadal lagoon alive but mistaken by the security forces for being the daughter of Prabhakaran.
It further says that based on the images of Isaipriya’s dead body and those of many other women, OISL believes that Isaipriya’s dead body was desecrated.
Relevant excerpts from the OISL report are stated below –
Shobana Dharmaraja alias Isaipriya
The well-known LTTE news presenter, Isaipriya, appears in several photographic and video images that suggests she was taken into custody and killed by the Sri Lankan security forces. Witnesses saw her on several occasions during the week before 18 May , and last saw her alive late morning on 18 May, when SLA soldiers pulled her out of the lagoon alone and unarmed and took her into custody in a muddy area of the Nandi Kadal Lagoon shore north of Vadduvakal bridge. According to the official website of the security forces, Isaipriya was killed on 18 May by soldiers of the 53rd division.
OISL has viewed photos and video footage consistent with witness accounts showing Isaipriya pulled out of the Nandi Kadal lagoon alive but mistaken by the security forces for being the daughter of Prabhakaran. In the video sequence Isaipriya is wearing khaki /green trousers and a flesh coloured bra. The soldiers in this footage are handing her a white cloth to cover her upper body and generally behave in a respectful manner. In other photographic images, Isaipriya is seen with the white cloth wrapped around her sitting or lying next to another young woman. In stark contrast to these images, another video as well as a number of photographs show Isaipriya’s dead body among a group of male bodies, many naked, blindfolded with hands tied behind their backs.
In this video, Isaipriya is half-naked with her trousers pulled down exposing her upper thighs, genital area and lower abdomen. Her midriff is covered with the now bloodied white cloth and her bra appears to have been deliberately moved to expose her breasts. Her hands appear to be tied behind her back. A cloth similar to the blindfold worn by other victims appears to have been pulled away exposing her entire face.
Independent forensic examination of the photographs and video footage indicate that Isaipriya was shot in the head. In the images her body is positioned such that only the exit wound on the left side of her in temporal area is visible. Skull pieces and protruding brain are visible.
Based on the video footage and photographs along with witness testimonies, OISL has reasonable grounds to believe that security forces captured Isaipriya alive and then killed her with gunshots to the head execution-style.
Further, based on the images of Isaipriya’s dead body and those of many other women, OISL believes that Isaipriya’s dead body was desecrated.