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UK police has arrested a Tamil in war crimes investigation over Sri Lanka BBC journalist Nimalarajan murder

Mylvaganam Nimalarajan was murdered in 2000

War crimes detectives investigating the murder of a BBC journalist in Sri Lanka more than 20 years ago have arrested a man, reportedly in Kettering according to “The Northamptonshire Telegraph”.

The 48-year-old was taken into custody on Tuesday (February 22) over the killing of Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, who was shot dead in 2000 days after receiving death threats over his elections reporting.

 

Police said he was arrested on suspicion of offences under Section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which covers genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was taken into custody and has since been released under investigation.

Mr Nimalarajan, who was renowned for his fearless reporting, was shot dead at his home in the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna on October 19.

Gunmen also attacked his father with a knife and threw a grenade, injuring other family members.

The journalist worked for the BBC’s Sinhala and Tamil language services and had been reporting on violence that marred the nation’s general elections. He had accused a Tamil militant group of human rights violations and vote rigging.

Arrests were made but those suspected of being involved were believed to have fled the country, local media reports said.

In October 2017 the Metropolitan Police received a referral in relation to the murder and began an investigation.

The Northamptonshire Telegraph

At the time of the arrest, the Metropolitan Police has said:

“There will still be people who may have information, particularly in relation to the murder of Mr Nimalarajan, and we would urge those people to come forward and help achieve justice for Mr Nimalarajan’s family.”

Nimalarajan, a senior journalist who contributed to the BBC Tamil and Sinhala services, the Tamil daily Virakesari and Sinhala weekly Ravaya, was murdered in his Jaffna home on October 19, 2000.

Nimalarajan was shot through the window of his study where he was working on an article. The suspects then threw a grenade into the home before fleeing the premises. Following his death, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote that “local journalists suspect that Nimalarajan’s reporting on vote-rigging and intimidation in Jaffna during the recent parliamentary elections may have led to his murder.”

The government aligned paramilitary group the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) are suspected of carrying out the killing.In May 2021, the Sri Lankan Attorney General’s department ordered the release of the suspects involved in the murder case. At least two other suspects were thought to have been abroad.Over 22 years have passed since Nimalarajan’s murder but no one has been held accountable for the killing.

The Island

Sri Lanka Brief understands the person arrested is a Tamil who has left Sri Lanka after the death of Nimalarajan.

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