Isaipriya

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Isaipriya
Born Shoba
1982
Died 2009
Ethnicity Sri Lankan Tamil
Alma mater Vembadi Girls' High School
Occupation Journalist/television anchor

Shoba (commonly known as Isaipriya; 1982 – 2009) was a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist and television broadcaster for the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her death in the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 is mired in controversy with allegations that she was captured by the Sri Lankan military before being raped, tortured and murdered.

Early life and family[edit]

Shoba was born in 1982 and hailed from Delft Island.[1][2] She was educated at the Memorial School and Vembadi Girls' High School.[1][2] Her family moved to the Vanni in 1995 after being displaced from their home by Operation Riviresa - the Sri Lankan military's operation aimed at recapturing the Jaffna Peninsula.[2] Shoba continued her education in Vanni before joining the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.[1]

Shoba married a LTTE cadre in 2007 and had a infant daughter.[2] Her daughter Akal was killed by Sri Lanka Air Force bombing on 15 March 2009.[1][3] Her husband was also killed in the final months of the civil war in 2009.[2]

Career[edit]

According to the pro-LTTE TamilNet website and Shoba's friends she suffered from rheumatic valvular heart disease and as such didn't provide any military service for the LTTE.[3][4] Instead Shoba worked, under the stage name Isaipriya, as journalist and broadcaster for the LTTE's Oliveechchu television station in Kilinochchi.[1][2] She was also an actress, singer and dancer.[5]

Death[edit]

According to the Sri Lankan military, Isaipriya, whom it describes as "Lieutenant Colonel Issei Piriya", was killed in battle by the 53 Division on 18 May 2009.[6][7] [8] However, according to TamilNet, Isaipriya had been a volunteer at the makeshift hospital in Mullivaikkal until 8 May 2009 and had ended up at the internment camps in Vavuniya District.[3][9] TamilNet claims that Isaipriya and another woman were taken away from the camps by the Sri Lankan Army on 23/24 May 2009.[3]

On 30 November 2010 Channel 4 News broadcast video footage which allegedly showed Sri Lankan soldiers summarily executing captured Tamils in the final phase of the civil war.[10] The video showed a number of dead bodies including a naked woman with her hands behind her back.[11] This woman was later identified as Isaipriya by several sources.[1][4][11][12] A witness found by Human Rights Watch claims to have seen Isaipriya 15 May 2009 wearing the same clothes that were next to her on in the Channel 4 News video.[11] There were signs that she may have been sexually assaulted.[13]

On 31 October 2013 Channel 4 News broadcast new video footage which allegedly showed Isaipriya alive and in the custody of the Sri Lankan military.[5] She is shown half naked and disorientated, and the Sri Lankan soldiers initially believe her to be Dwarka, daughter of the LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran.[5][14] Photographs are also shown of Isaipriya lying in a ditch, possibly dead, with a gash across her face and clear signs of sexual assault.[5][15] According to lawyers Isaipriya's "murder" by the Sri Lankan military constitutes a war crime.[5]

Isaipriya's family were unaware of her capture and murder until the Channel 4 News broadcast.[16] Her mother told Channel 4 News that she had always thought that Isaipriya had been killed by shelling.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Woman victim in Channel-4 video identified as Journalist Isaippiriyaa". TamilNet. 1 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Sampanthan wants probe on Issaipriya's death". Ceylon Today. 7 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "New evidence emerges on war crimes committed on Isaippiriyaa". TamilNet. 5 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Sri Lanka 'war crimes' video: woman's body identified". Channel 4 News. 8 December 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Miller, Jonathan (31 October 2013). "Fate of Tamil propagandist: new Sri Lanka evidence - video". Channel 4 News. 
  6. ^ "Report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka". United Nations. p. 43. 
  7. ^ "Letter on Sri Lanka to Permanent Representatives of Human Rights Council Member and Observer States". Human Rights Watch. 2 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Identified LTTE leaders who were killed during the Last Battle". Ministry of Defence (Sri Lanka). 21 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "Sri Lanka war crimes probe demanded by rights groups". BBC News. 9 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Sri Lanka execution video: new war crimes claims". Channel 4 News. 30 November 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Sri Lanka: Army Unit Linked to Executions". Human Rights Watch. 8 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "New video evidence of alleged Sri Lankan war crimes requires UN investigation". Amnesty International. 9 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "Testimony of Elaine Pearson before the House of Commons of Canada regarding Human Rights in Sri Lanka". Human Rights Watch. 1 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Shekhar, G. C. (4 November 2013). "Video on atrocity stokes Tamil rage". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 
  15. ^ Priyamvatha, P. (1 November 2013). "Isaipriya 'raped' and killed by Sri Lankan Army, says Channel 4 video". India Today. 
  16. ^ Miller, Jonathan (9 Nov 2013). "Sri Lanka: Tamil family’s distress over footage of daughter". Channel 4 News. 
  17. ^ "Isaipriya's fate was previously unknown to her family". Tamil Guardian. 9 November 2013.