[Military in Jaffna, file photo]
Sri Lankan military personnel on Friday threatened and evicted journalists from the court room where the inquiry into the gang rape of two Tamil school girls, aged 11 and 9, in Karainagar by Sri Lankan navy personnel is currently taking place.
Dressed in civilian uniform, the military officers confiscated cameras and mobiles phones from the journalists, and deleted any photographs that had been taken, sources in Jaffna told Tamil Guardian.
The media personnel were told not publish news related to the incidents and the parents of the victims were offered money and threatened to drop the case.
Outside the court room, locals held a protest condemning the ongoing rape and sexual assault against Tamil children by military personnel, as well as calling for an end to the intimidation and harassment of victims.
Over 11 members of the Sri Lankan navy have now been implicated in the gang rape.
Court proceedings are being closely watched by civil society activists and the local media, after reports emerged that the Sri Lankan military was using its influence to prevent legal action being taken against the men.
The navy commander is reported to have transferred the accused sailors to a naval base in the south of the island.