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Lives of doctors who reported from the conflict zone under threat

May 19, 2009

UK Guardian – Official: Sri Lankan war zone doctors detained

Three Sri Lankan doctors who treated hundreds of badly wounded civilians in understaffed, makeshift hospitals in the country’s war zone were detained on accusations they gave false information about the casualties to the media, a health official said Monday.

With journalists and nearly all aid workers barred from the war zone, Thurairaja Varatharajah, Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi and V. Shanmugarajah became some of the few sources of information on the toll the war took on the tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the area

…A health ministry official said the doctors were detained by the military when they fled and were later turned over to police. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The ministry was conducting an inquiry into their conduct, including allegations they disseminated false information, the official said. Police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekara said he had no information about the doctors, whose fate has generated international concern

…the U.N. cannot confirm reports that three Sri Lankan doctors whose harrowing reports from the war zone were some of the only accounts to reach the outside world in recent weeks — were detained on accusations they gave false information to the media.

Reuters – UN worried about ‘heroic’ Sri Lankan doctors’ fate

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