INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing
Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
...in the Shadow of the Ceasefire: 2002 - 2007
Tamil Detainee details 18-year detention, torture in STF
camp [TamilNet, April 27, 2004 15:17 GMT]
Tamil youth arrested in 1986 by the Special Task Force of the Sri
Lanka Army at Kaluwanchikudy in the Batticaloa district, and assumed
dead, has escaped last week from an STF camp where he was held
incommunicado for 18 years, and has detailed the torture and
killings by the STF that took place in the camp and elsewhere to Sri
Lanka’s Human Rights Commission and the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC), sources in Batticaloa told TamilNet.
Mr. Kanagaratnam Shanmuganathan, 40, of Murugan Kovilady,
Siththandy, in the Batticaloa district was arrested by the STF 18
years ago at the STF checkpoint in Kaluwanchikudy when he was on his
way to work in a rice mill in Kalmunai.
Mr. Shanmuganathan said that the STF tortured him and then moved him
to the Kuruwitta Sri Lanka Army camp, where he was held
incommunicado. On the way to Kuruwitta, Mr. Shanmuganathan said he
saw about 25 Tamil people in Amparai being shot dead by Sri Lanka
In the Kuruwitta camp, more than 300 Tamil men were held since 1990,
and whenever there were attacks in the North-East against Sri Lanka
Armed forces, the detainees were tortured and many were killed.
Out of the 158 refugees who were abducted by Sri Lanka Armed forces
from the Eastern University in 1990 and presumed killed, Mr.
Shanmuganathan said he saw three, Nagalingam Arulanantharajah,
Kandumani Yogeswaran and Sihamani Puvikamalan, all of Kommanthurai,
in the camp where he was held.
Mr. Shanmuganathan has informed Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission
and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the
existence of the camp and that he could identify its location and
the people who are held there.
In seeking to rebuild his life, Mr. Shanmuganathan faces several
challenges. When he returned, his wife was already dead. His
daughter, who was 2 years old when he was arrested, and has lived
with relatives since her mother died, does not recognize him. As his
whereabouts were not known for a long time, his wife registered him
as dead and obtained compensation. Now he has no identification
papers, and when he applied for a new identification card, his Grama
Sevaka (Village Officer) has told him that as his ‘death’ was
registered, he could not provide any help with new identity papers.
Mr. Shanmuganathan, who was 22 when he was arrested, said that
during the 18 year detention he had no knowledge of the outside
world and it was a very dark period in his life. The detention and
torture have left him very ill, and he looks much older than his
age. Though he was eager to return to relatives, he realizes that
there are not many relatives left, and says he feels an emptiness.