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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 18:24 UK

Recanting Sri Lanka medics bailed

Doctors appear before the media
The doctors gave a news conference to confess exaggerating the casualty toll

Four doctors who worked in Sri Lanka's combat zone have been given bail after they were detained for allegedly exaggerating civilian casualty figures.

A court in the capital Colombo said they could be released as long as they reported to police once a month.

With journalists banned from the war zone, the doctors were an important source of news about the fighting in the final bloody months of fighting.

In July, the doctors said they had overstated the casualty figures.

They told a news conference they had been under pressure from Tamil Tiger rebels, who controlled the area where they were working, to exaggerate the death toll.

They said they believed a total of 600-700 civilians had been killed, and nearly twice that injured, between the start of January and the end of the war in May.

The United Nations' figures are roughly 10 times higher.

Amnesty International has questioned the authenticity of the doctors' confession, saying at the time "there are very significant grounds to question whether these statements are voluntary".

Three of the doctors have now been released from detention, while a fourth was also granted bail but remains in hospital. There is no news about a fifth doctor who was also detained.



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