A US embassy cable released by the Wikileaks website last week quotes a former US official in Colombo as saying that a group of doctors who were in the Wanni during the war, had been “coached” on what to say at a press briefing in Colombo after they were arrested.
Dr T. Sathiyamoorthy, Dr T. Varatharajah and Dr. Shanmugarajah, who while in the Wanni, had made claims of heavy civilian casualties, contradicted their statements at a press briefing organised by the government in July 2009.
A secret cable dispatched in August 2009 by the Charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Colombo James R. Moore, said that the doctors had not lied when giving their original statements to the media during the war.
Moore said in his August 2009 secret dispatch “Four government doctors, held by the police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) since the end of the war in May for allegedly filing false reports on civilian casualties in the No-Fire Zone during the last several months of the war, were released on bail today. The doctors had been pressured to give the press conference held in early July (reftel), where they recanted all the statements they had made from the No-Fire Zone. They said they were heavily coached for the press conference, given specific lines to say, and even practiced with several members of the local media beforehand. They said they had not lied when giving their original statements during the war. The release of the four doctors is a welcome step by the GSL, but clearly they remain under investigation by the CID and now also are potentially under threat of abduction or extrajudicial killing. Post will continue to monitor the situation very closely, but for now the doctors appear to want to maintain as low a profile as possible, without undue attention brought to them either in Sri Lanka or internationally”.
Wikileaks released several US embassy cables last week and among them were cables sent from the US Embassy in Colombo to the US State Department and other US officials.
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