Death for killing tsunami victim

Sri Lanka tsunami

The tsunami killed more than 30,000 people in Sri Lanka

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A Sri Lankan judge has sentenced two men to death for murdering a tsunami victim in the coastal town of Galle. Dineti Deshika had just escaped from the wave when the two stole a gold chain from around her neck and pushed her back into the sea.

A series of pictures of the incident surfaced and were shown prominently by a local newspaper.

More than 30,000 people died in Sri Lanka in the tsunami which also left half a million homeless.

“Both accused have been given the death sentence by hanging,” WST De Silva, High Court registrar in Galle told news agency Reuters.

Found guilty

“I was present in the court and I felt very happy that finally justice has been done,” chief police investigator Sarath Mendis was quoted by Associated Press as saying.

Ruwan Mapalagamage and Ajith Kumara were caught on camera in December 2004 as they pushed the woman back into the waters immediately after the first wave had struck during the island’s worst natural disaster.

The photographs then showed them pushing her back into the sea and fighting over the necklace.

Her body was found after the waters receded.

A few weeks later police had tracked down the two men as residents of Galle.

They were charged with murder and both were found guilty.

Correspondents say it is unlikely they will be executed.

Although Sri Lanka’s judges occasionally hand out the death sentences, it has not actually been carried out in three decades.

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