Sri Lankan government forces executed the 12-year-old son of a rebel leader on the bloody final day of the country's 26-year civil war, campaigners say. The Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka group says two photographs taken less than two hours apart show the son of slain Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakarna sitting on a bench eating a snack with a soldier standing guard, and then dead, shot five times in the chest, the BBC reports. The Sri Lankan military claimed the boy was killed during a battle.
Independent experts have confirmed the photos were taken with the same camera. "His death was deliberate and calculated," says the director of No Fire Zone, a new documentary accusing Sri Lankan forces of war crimes in the war's closing days in 2009. "This is a proof, beyond reasonable doubt, of the execution of a child—not a battlefield death," he says. "The pictures fill in chilling details on the circumstances of his murder, and leave the Sri Lankan government with yet more questions to answer." A military spokesman says that allegations the boy was executed are based on "lies, half-truths, and rumors."