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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
"Sri Lanka torture includes electric shock" says US State Department Report
"Torture remained a serious problem.. Members of the security forces continued to torture and mistreat detainees and other prisoners, both male and female, particularly during interrogation. Although the number of torture reports was somewhat lower than in previous years in the Colombo area, the situation in Eastern Province did not improve. Torture also emerged as a problem in the newly recaptured Jaffna Peninsula. In November a Supreme Court judge stated publicly that torture continued unabated in police stations in spite of a number of judicial pronouncements against its use. Progovernment Tamil militants in the east and north, directly responsible to the security forces, also engaged in torture...
"Methods of torture included electric shock, beatings (especially on the soles of the feet), suspension by the wrists or feet in contorted positions, burning, near drownings, placing of insecticide, chili powder, or gasoline-soaked bags over the head, and forced positions. Detainees have reported broken bones and other serious injuries as a result of their mistreatment..." (U.S. Department of State, Sri Lanka Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996)
"Sri Lanka's minority Tamil community on Saturday complained of human rights abuses as battles raged between the predominantly Sinhalese forces and Tamil Tiger rebels near a northern guerrilla stronghold. A pro-government Tamil party urged President Chandrika Kumaratunga to intervene and stop alleged human rights abuses against Tamils and make sure those detained by the army in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna area were tried fairly. ... Joseph Pararajasingham, Parliamentary leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), wrote in the letter to President Chandrika Kumaratunga that 76 Tamils, mostly youths, were harassed by police after being arrested by the army. ``The police have them in their custody for over three months, torture them and obtain confessions under duress,'' he said in the letter which was made available to journalists." (Reuter Report, 28 September 1996)
"Torture of Tamils is now widespread in Sri Lankan-occupied parts of the northeast. In Valigamam district last week, Tamil inmates of the Navaly Pulavar refugee camp were taken away by soldiers to their army base. Witnesses say soldiers forced the young men to hold mouthfuls of stones while they were beaten senseless. A 21-year old, Rasiah Satheeswaran, died during his beating. Half of the refugees who were taken have beenreleased, the other half are still in army custody. Relatives fear the worst. (Tamilnet News Report, 10 February 1997)
"Supreme Court Judge P Ramanathan says despite judicial orders against law-enforcement officers, torture in police stations continues unabated. Police have powers to record statements, investigate and prosecute offenders. The concentration of powers allow the police to take short-cuts by torture in custody, says Mr Ramanathan.
Human rights agencies say prolonged detention also leads to ill-treatment. Currently there are over 1,100 Tamils in custody, 300 of whom are held for over two years. MPs who met detainees in Kalutara prison in early November say six Tamil youths are held for over five years and another six above the age of 50 are detained for over 18 months. Seven had been earlier released, arrested again and held for over two years.
Over 100 Tamil prisoners in Kalutara began a fast on 28 November demanding trials or release. Following a fast protest by detainees in June, the Defence Ministry promised to solve the issue within three months. Prisoners bitterly complain that the Ministry has failed to take any action. Lawyers say the Defence Ministry has failed to act on several recommendations for release made by the Attorney General's Department.
Human rights agencies are concerned about illegal detentions. Some prisoners continue to languish in prison despite court orders for their release. In a habeas corpus application, Meenatchy Chitrasenan alleges that her daughter Thirumagal arrested in September is illegally detained in a police station without being produced before a court." (British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, November 1996)
see also Arrests & torture of Tamils - continuing impunity
see also Torture of Tamil in custody proved in Supreme Court