Vanni doctors forced to give false statement
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 July 2009, 17:36 GMT]
5 Tamil doctors being held by the Sri Lankan authorities say they expect to be released, after being paraded to local and international media on Wednesday when they were made to claim that they had exaggerated civilian casualty figures in the final phases of the war at the request of the LTTE. Meanwhile, health workers who have escaped Vanni have slammed the international community for allowing the detainment of the doctors and questioned the validity of their statements in light of the 'precarious position' they face.
The doctors, whose arrest in May by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) caused uproar throughout the Tamil Diaspora, said they had provided information to the media on the 'instructions of the LTTE', including 'exaggerated figures about civilian casualties'.
Facing the public for the first time since being held by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the group claimed civilian casualties between January to May was around only 650, contradicting leaked U.N reports and global media coverage.
Health workers in Colombo and abroad have criticised the International Community for not condemning the immoral detainment of the doctors, and say the statement may have been the only option available to avoid further detention.
"The world has allowed the government to demonise and incarcerate these heroes, who worked tirelessly to assist civilians within the conflict zone when no one else did," said a Vavuniyaa based health professional.
"Keeping into account the precarious position the doctors are in, and the grave dangers they face at the hands of the Sri Lankan authorities, one must be sceptical of their retractions," he warned.
The doctors in custody are Ki'linochchi RDHS Dr. T.Sathiyamoorthy, Mullaiththeevu RDHS Dr. T.Varatharaja, MS for Mullaiththeevu V.Shanmugaraja, Dr. Illancheliyan Pallavan of the Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital and Dr. S. Sivapalan.