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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
A police team led by Inspector Mahinda Pathirana is alleged to be involved in abduction of civilians in Vavuniya, using ambulances and white vans without number plates. The observations of the court came after a complaint regarding these events by the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission.
The court indicated that the police were not acting according to domestic law by failing to observe Emergency regulations and Supreme Court guidelines in a number of cases regarding illegal arrests. Under Emergency regulations, the police are expected to issue arrest receipts to relatives and inform the Human Rights Commission within 48 hours of arrest.
The security forces carried out cordon and search operations in Poonthottam area in early March and arrested eight refugees. Relatives have not been informed about their whereabouts. Joseph John was taken into custody for the fourth time on 7 March and assaulted by soldiers. The Army denies his arrest.
The Vavuniya court also stated that confiscation of National Identity Cards (NIC) of civilians is illegal. The security forces usually confiscate NICs of Tamil youths arriving from the Vanni if they are suspected of LTTE links and order them to report at the Goodshed transit camp the following day. Last month, Visvamadu resident Jeyanthy Balasingham’s NIC was taken away by police. She was later arrested and died in security force custody.
In late March, the Vavuniya court ordered the District Medical Officer to examine three youths who allege they suffered torture in custody. One of them, S Prathapan, 23, arrested earlier under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was released by court after the Attorney General’s Department declared that there was no evidence against him of LTTE links. He was arrested again within two months and suffered torture in custody... "(British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, March 2001)