Sri Lanka: Follow up report on missing Catholic Priest

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DNA test advocated to identity human remains found at Punguduthivu ( Jaffna )

One of the high profile disappearances reported last year was that of Rev. Father Tiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown, the Catholic Parish Priest of Alaipiddy in Jaffna District. A torso, with the head, hands and legs severed and placed in a weighted green bag was discovered by a local fisherman when it got caught in his fishing net around the 15th of March 2007. The torso with deep cut wounds has remained in the morgue of Jaffna Teaching Hospital, since then.

The Catholic clergy in Jaffna are reported to suspect that the torso lying in Jaffna Teaching Hospital belongs to Rev. Father Jim Brown, particularly as the killers appear to have gone to great lengths to hide the identity of the victim. Rev. Father Jim Brown, 34 and his aide Wenceslaus Vincent Vimalathas, 38, were reported missing on 20th August 2006. They were last seen by another Catholic Priest, Rev. Father Peter Thurairatman at the Alaipiddy Road Junction military post at 1:50pm.

Rev. Father Jim Brown had prior to his disappearance been actively involved in moving civilians from Alaipiddy to safer areas after 20 were killed and 54 injured in shelling resulting from on-going hostilities between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Army. Rev. Father Jim Brown had earlier replaced Rev. Father Amalraj at the Alaipiddy church as he was under immense pressure subsequent to an incident where 9 civilians were killed at Alaippidy on 13th May 2006.

The Jaffna Clergy are now requesting the Jaffna Magistrate to order and facilitate DNA tests at an authorized facility to determine the victim’s identity.

nceasl 9/4/2007