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S Lankans face murder trial after tsunami robbery

Written by: Staff
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COLOMBO, Mar 4 (Reuters) Two Sri Lankan men accused of grabbing a gold chain from a woman caught in the 2004 tsunami before letting her be swept to her death will be put on trial for murder, officials said.

Police yesterday said the two men had been in prison since January 13 last year on charges of theft, and would appear in court later this month. Solicitor General CR de Silva decided to charge them with murder after watching a video of the incident.

''We are filing an indictment,'' he told Reuters. The theft was one of the highest profile crimes reported during the tsunami, which killed some 35,000 people in Sri Lanka and almost 230,000 around the Indian Ocean.

The video, widely shown in Sri Lanka after the disaster, shows Mapalagamage Ruwan and Ajith Kumara standing on the roof of the bus station in Galle, where hundreds drowned, as flood waters sweep through.

They appear to pull 23-year-old Dineti Deshika from the water, grab a golden necklace and then let her fall back into the raging torrent. Her body was found when the waters receded.

REUTERS CS SP0931

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