One woman's agony
[TamilNet, Friday, 01 May 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Mrs.Shyamalawathie Wijesundaram,25, was arrested on 31 October 1997 by the Vavuniya Police. At the time of her arrest she was two months pregnant. Currently she is being held in the Welikada jail in Colombo. She is in cell no.4530 of the female ward of the prison.
Shyamalawathie is now nine months pregnant. She has been subject to severe hardships in the prison. A human rights activist said that her legs and feet are swollen severely.
When she was last taken to the hospital, the doctor who examined her had ordered that her blood and urine be tested immediately. But the prison officials who had accompanied her to the hospital had refused to let the tests be taken.
Shyamalawathie has to stand in long queues with other prisoners to get her daily prison meals. As she is unable to stand for a long time in her present state, she has to forego most of her meals.
Shyamalawathie is in a very congested cell where she can sleep only in one position through the night. She is unable have the prescribed hours of sleep because she cannot turn to rest in a comfortable position on the floor of the prison during the night.
She is strictly denied hot water for drinking and other purposes. Shyamalawathie's husband lost one of his feet in a anti- personnel land mine explosion. He is among the Tamil prisoners being held now in the new remand prison at Kalutara.
Shyamalawathie's one and a half year old child lives with her old parents in Vavuniya and has not seen her since she was arrested.
Shyamalawathie has had no one to visit her from the day of her arrest. Her parents find it difficult to obtain the permit from the security forces in Vavuniya to travel to Colombo for the visits.
She is expected to have her confinement around May 17 1998.
The Sri Lankan attorney general's department has not initiated any legal proceedings against her.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence has not responded to a request by some human rights activists who became aware of her incarceration recently to transfer Shyamalawathie to a rehabilitation/welfare camp on humanitarian grounds or to release her forthwith if there is no case against her.