Sri Lanka bars entry to two British journalists
Colombo: Sri Lanka said on Wednesday that it declined entry to two journalists of a British television station which had aired a series of videos accusing the military of war crimes.
The Immigration and Emigration Department said that the journalists attached to the British Channel 4 television were sent back after they arrived in Sri Lanka.
Immigration head Chulananda Perera told Xinhua that one female journalist, Shirani Sabaratnam, was refused entry at the country's only international airport on Tuesday.
Her husband Stuart Cosgrove, a director at Channel 4, meanwhile entered the country and was at a Colombo hotel when he was taken back to the airport by officials and sent back, Perera said.
The Channel 4 journalists were among those blacklisted in Sri Lanka following the airing of the controversial war crimes videos.
Based on the video footage, Sri Lanka was accused by some foreign governments and human rights groups of committing war crimes during the final stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Sri Lanka defeated the rebels in May 2009 but following that Channel 4 released the videos it claimed were authentic, showing soldiers killing unarmed rebels at close range.
The Sri Lankan government however rejected the allegations and said that the videos were doctored and not authentic.
Following international pressure, the government later appointed the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to look at some of the incidents which took place during the war including the allegations raised in the Channel 4 video.
The military also launched its own inquiry after the LLRC released its final report late last year with a set of recommendations.