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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Fate of 109 Tamils who disappeared in 1998 during Army occupation
of Kilinochchi remains unknown...
Reports say that the fate of 109 people who disappeared in 1998 during the Army occupation of Kilinochchi remains unknown. Complaints of 164 disappearances were made and NGOs have ascertained that 47 had been released and eight died in Army custody....
...Security force personnel are accused of attempting to search a Tamil women’s hostel in (Colombo's) Wellawatte suburb on 30 December, at 2.00am, without a woman officer. The officers, whose vehicle did not have number plates, belong to Operation Command Colombo (OCC) which is said to function in three divisions - Colombo North, Central and South - headed by senior officers in the Navy, Airforce and Army. Reports say that the OCC is authorised to carry out secret investigations and search operations without any notice to the local police. The Committee of Inquiry into Undue Arrest and Detention (CIUAD) has been notified of the incident.
Since establishment on 12 July last year, CIUAD has received 154 complaints upto end of January, including two disappearances. CIUAD chief Lakshman Jayakody says that many complaints relating to arrest and prolonged detention have been received. CIUAD is said to be taking action to offer legal aid to detainees and establish a computer database to prevent repeated arrests.
CIUAD is investigating allegations of torture in police custody of Muthuthamby Vanitha, a deportee from France. Meanwhile, Jaffna resident Damila Jayakanthan who arrived in Colombo to go to Italy to join her husband remains in custody. She was arrested in April last year and police have filed a case based on a confession obtained in detention.
Twenty Tamil youths working in Pettah were taken into custody on 13 January accused of not registering with the police. They were released after Colombo MP R Yogarajan pointed out that they are registered with the police in the area of their residence and there was no requirement to register also in the area of the work place.
On 14 January, Batticaloa’s Alayadivembu regional council chairman R Nadarajah, held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for the last three months, was released by a court after the Attorney General admitted that there was no evidence of LTTE links against him. Louis Rama, accused of being a Sea Tiger, was released by the Colombo High Court on 13 January. The Court rejected the confession obtained in custody, after the Judicial Medical Officer’s evidence revealed that Ms Rama had suffered severe torture.
Twenty six Tamil prisoners in Kalutara resumed their hunger strike on 18 January demanding the authorities to file charges or release them. Following similar protests in December, the government appointed a committee headed by Justice Secretary Kamalini de Silva to expedite the cases against detainees. Although the protest ended on 25 January, the detainees say they will resume demonstrations if no action is taken. The Attorney General Department’s Sugath Gamlath says that cases will be filed as soon as police reports on the detainees are received.(British Refugee Council, Sri Lanka Monitor, January 1999)