Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sri Lanka to hold second line-up on legislator slaying

COLOMBO, Jan. 21 -- A Sri Lankan court on Monday allowed the police to conduct a second line-up of the suspect held in connection with the slaying of a Tamil minority legislator.

Thiagarajah Maheswaran, a legislator of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) was gunned down on Jan. 1 inside a Tamil religious temple in north Colombo.

The lawyers representing the late legislator's family were not happy with the first line-up where the witnesses failed to identify the suspect being held.

The State Attorney on behalf of the Attorney General told the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ravindra Premaratne that he had no objection to a second identification if the late Maheswaran's lawyers needed it.

The magistrate then ordered that the second line-up be held on Jan. 25.

The police's Colombo Crime Division reported to the court that adequate security could be provided to the witnesses to appear in court for the line-up if they had any safety fears.

Maheswaran was the sole UNP legislator representing the minority Tamil community.

He became the third Tamil legislator to be gunned down since the end of 2005 in the upsurge of violence in the island's separatist armed conflict.

Two Tamil National Alliance legislators, Joseph Pararajasinghamand Nadarajah Raviraj, were killed in 2005 and 2006 separately.

by Gao Ying, Xinhua