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Asian Human Rights Commission on torture, rape
and extra judicial killing by Sri Lanka Armed Forces
Statement given by the Mother of victim to the government Authorities in Mannar, Sri Lanka, 30 July 1999
Asian Human Rights Commission Urgent Appeal (UA 32/999, UA Index 990810), 10 August 1999
British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor on the Rape of Ida Carmelita, July 1999
Statement given by the Mother of victim to the government Authorities in Mannar Island in Sri Lanka, 30 July 1999
Rape and Murder of Ida Carmelita in Pallimunai
Sebastian Anthoniya Figuro, 56 RC, of Lourdes Street, Pallimunai West, Pallimunai gave the following statement to AST on 30.07.99:
On 12.07.99, Monday at about 1(one) am, I was called by Kesavan Raju, who is having a vegetable shop in our compound.
At that time, my daughter, Ida Carmelita alias Laila, 21 years, 2 grand daughters, 10 & 8 (daughters of my eldest daughter Snekalatha). And I were sleeping in one room, my son Permil Rosary Hitlar, 23, and Pethuru Anthony (my Brothers son) were in the other room and Mr. Lechumai Kanthan (an acquaintance of ours) was sleeping in the verandah.
When I heard Rajus voice, I opened the door and found two armed men with their faces covered with a cloth below their eyes. They were wearing trousers, banian, gloves on their hands and holster I did not see Raju as it was very dark.
They inquired where Napoleon was Napoleon is my son, who was formerly a member of the LTTE, but now under the custody of the army for the last two years. He is brought by them from Colombo off and on and allowed to stay with us for a few days at a time. He was then here on such leave but that night he had gone somewhere and was not at home. I therefore replied that he was not at home, and inquired who they were. They replied they were from Iyakkam (movement) and slapped me heard on the right of my face and eye, dragged me outside the house, and as if they did not believe me, went inside the house.
From outside I could see one of them pulling off the sheet with which my daughter Ida was covering herself. He asked me who it was and I replied that it was my daughter. One then pulled me onto the courtyard, where I saw Raju, seated on the ground. They pulled off the sarong being worn by him and blindfolded me with it.
Then I heard them calling all the inmates to come out. My daughter began to cry out loud and they told my son to tell her not to shout. He requested her not to shout and came with her outside. She came and sat by my side and buried her face in my lap, sobbing.
After about two minutes, my blindfold was removed and all were asked to get inside the house. We all went into the bigger room. They then called one by one, the 3 males, except Raju, and put them into the other room and closed the door.
Through fear I was also shouting and they came and slapped me several times for shouting.
Then they pulled me by my hair to the courtyard, where I saw 3 more armed men. They took a sarong from our fence and gagged me with it, twisted my hands and tied them belting me, and pushed me onto the ground and two men pressed me down
with their feet.
First the two men who came earlier went inside the house and after about 3 minute; other three too went inside.
I then managed to sit up and then to stand. Thinking of diverting their attention to myself and off the children, I ran fast, outside our compound and along the road. My hands got loosened by that time and I pulled out the gag from my mouth. I went to the house of a relative and asked for a lantern. They had only a bottle lamp. While there we heard one gunshot first and 5-6 soon
I ran to the Pallimunai Police post and told them what had happened and about the gunshots and appealed to them to come to our help. They replied that they could not come at that time and requested me to return home. But I sat for about two hours in front of the police post. At about 3.30 am, I went to another relatives house, and told them that I would stay with them till dawn.
At about 6 am, I requested them to go and find out what had happened. Seeman Jovar went to our home and returned and informed us that my daughter had been shot and killed. I then came home and found many people already gathered there.
2 or 3 Army personnel came around 8 am and saw the body and left. The Grama Office was informed and he came and inquired and informed the police. The District Judge and the police came at about 10 am and held an inquiry. The DJ ordered that the body be taken to the hospital for post-mortem. We took the body in a van.
As requested, I went to the Mannar Police station and gave a statement. The body was brought home by my children at about 4 PM and we had the funeral late that evening.
I went to hospital the next day and was admitted there. After two days I was told that I was wanted by the police and so I got myself discharged and went to the police station and my statement was obtained by the CID.
This case was called at the District Courts on 20th. There, I was asked for my consent to exhume the body and to send it to Colombo for further examination. I gave my consent for it and to have it buried in Colombo. It was exhumed on 21st and taken away.
Kesavan Raju identified two of the suspects at the courts. One of them was identified also by my son, Hitlar.
Asian Human Rights Commission Urgent Appeal (UA 32/999, UA Index 990810), 10 August 1999
On 10 August 1999, the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent appeal (UA 32/999, UA Index 990810) on the torture, rape and extra judicial killing of the Tamil, Ida Carmelita by the Sri Lanka armed forces:
SRI LANKA: Ida Carmelita tortured, raped and killed by military
AHRC received information from reliable sources that Fahreen Ida Carmelitta Laila or Ida Carmelitta was raped and killed allegedly by soldiers on 12th July night in Pallimunai village in Mannar Island. Five masked men, heavily armed came and forcefully pulled out the girl from the house and violently raped her and killed her.
The post mortem report submitted by Dr Emmanuel Pieries, District Medical officer of Mannar observed that the victim had been repeatedly raped. Her lips and breasts were bitten off violently. She was shot through her organ.
For the family of Sebastian Anthoniyo Figuro, this is the third violent death. The eldest son joined LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] long ago and was captured by the army and still in army custody. The army had tortured him and has been using him for various unsavory works.
The Ida was refugee in India from 1990 to 94. She returned to Pallimunai village to pursue her studies in 1994. Two months after her arrival, two of her brothers were killed by militants of TELO [Tamil Eelam liberation Organisation, an anti LTTE group]. Her mother was also injured.
To save Ida her mother took her to Pandivirchan village near Madhu. In the school she was recruited for LTTE. She served in LTTE for three years and last year expressed a wish to leave and join the family. In May 1999, she was staying in Adampan near Madhu in a Convent.
Her mother who was living in Pallimunai which is under the army control, consulted the army intelligence and was willing to bring the girl and surrender her. Accordingly she brought her and surrender her on 15th of June. After exhaustive enquiry the intelligence department released her and issued her a temporary stay pass.
On 12th July night the incident took place [refer to the statement below by Ida's mother].
The CID department of Sri Lanka conducted enquires and had exhumed the body and taken for further forensic tests.
In an identification parade, two people have identified the two culprits. They were arrested and taken to Anuradhapura Jail. Two others were supposed to testify against them but turned hostile later.
AHRC condemns the torture, rape and killing of Ida Carmelitta. We encourage you to write letters, faxes, and emails expressing your strong concern on this case.
- 1. expressing deep concern that Ida Carmelitta was tortured, raped and killed by the military;
- 2. an impartial inquiry be conducted into the July 12th torture, rape and killing of Ida Carmelitta;
- 3. perpetrators of this heinous act to be brought to justice;
- 4. the government to take measures to prevent such heinous acts from happening again.
Send Appeals to:
Her Excellency President Chandrika B. Kumaratunga Presidential Residence Colombo 3, Sri Lanka Fax: 94 - 1 - 333 - 703 SEND COPIES OF APPEAL TO:
Mary Robinson Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais des Nations, 8-14 avenue de la Paix CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Telephone number: (41 22) 9173456 Fax number: (41 22) 9170213 E-mail: [email protected]
Hon. Ambassador Permanent Mission and Consulate General of Sri Lanka 56, Rue De Moillebeau, 5th Floor, 1 209, Geneva 19 Switzerland. Fax: (41-22) 734 9084 E-mail: [email protected]
Hon. High-Commissioner The High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 13 Hyde Park Gardens London W2 2LU United Kingdom Fax: (0171) 262-7970 E-mail: [email protected]
and Diplomatic representatives of the Sri Lanka accredited to your country.
Please remember to send a copy of your letter to: [email protected]
Urgent Appeal Project Tel: +(852)-2698-6339 Asian Human Rights Commission Fax: +(852)-2698-6367 Unit D, 7 Floor, 16 Argyle Str. Mongkok Commercial Centre
web: http://www.ahrchk.net/ Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR CHINA
British Refugee Council on Rape of Carmelita, July 1999
The British Refugee Council publication Sri Lanka Monitor reported in its July 1999 issue:
"The brutal rape and murder of a Tamil woman by soldiers has caused widespread shock and anger. It is alleged that soldiers forced their way into Ida Carmelita’s home at Pallimunai in Mannar District at 1.30am on 11 July, raped, stabbed and shot her dead while her mother wailed outside. According to Mannar Judicial Medical Officer, there were 18 wounds on her body. Local people say the police refused to register a complaint and threatened neighbours not divulge the incident.
The Mannar magistrate ordered Carmelita’s body to be exhumed and sent to Colombo for further examination. An identification parade was held on 20 July and two soldiers were identified. Another 16 soldiers are being investigated. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is also probing allegations that an Army officer and ten other soldiers were involved in several murders, rapes and disappearances in Mannar District.
In a letter to President Chandrika, 30 women organisations have expressed concern over continuing rapes in the north-east despite death sentences to the accused in the Krishanthy Kumarasamy rape and murder case. The NGOs have called for urgent measures to prevent future incidents. Colombo human rights agency the Forum for Human Dignity has recorded over 45 rapes by soldiers in the north-east since February 1996. Local agencies say many rape victims do not report their ordeal for fear of retaliation or ostracization from the community. Most rape cases remain uninvestigated. In July, the CIUAH wrote to the Sri Lankan Attorney General urging action against three soldiers accused of raping a Muslim woman at Oddamavady in Batticaloa District, in the presence of her husband."