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Sri Lanka execution video ‘not fake’, says expert – Channel 4 News

[MISC, Tuesday, 15 December 2009 20:21 No Comment]

A forensic video specialist says footage broadcast by Channel 4 News, appearing to show the summary execution of Tamil Tiger fighters, wasn’t fabricated, as the Sri Lankan government has claimed.



The footage first came to light in August when Jonathan Miller reported on the grim images, apparently showing soldiers executing Tamil Tiger prisoners with gun shots to the head at point blank range.

It was obtained by Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, who said it had been filmed on a mobile phone on a battlefield in January.

A government official immediately declared the pictures were fake. The country’s authorities later claimed they had "established beyond doubt" the video was not authentic.

But now, after analysing the pictures in detail, an independent forensic video specialist is refuting that.

Grant Fredericks, who also works with the FBI, and is regarded as a world authority on video authentication, has told The Times newspaper the footage is "too subtle" to be phony.

He said: "This level of subtle detail cannot be virtually reproduced. This is clearly an original recording.

"The victims do not lunge forward… [they] fall backward in a very realistic reaction, unlike what is normally depicted in the movies."

The UN special rapporteur on extra judicial executions has confirmed to Channel 4 News that his office has also commissioned an independent analysis of the video.

In September, the Sri Lankan government issued a statement which claimed the film was made with "a sophisticated camera". Mr Fredericks says the footage is consistent with software used in Nokia mobile phones.

This evidence is likely to trigger new calls for an independent war crimes investigation, which the Sri Lankan government has so far resisted.

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