Tigers say assaulted in custody
[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 October 2002, 13:00 GMT]
Six Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers being held by the Liberation Tigers were Wednesday released to the International Committee of Red Cross in Trincomalee, while two LTTE members arrested by the SLA were released by the Trincomalee magistrate on as ordered by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday. The SLA soldiers said they had been treated well in custody, but the LTTE cadres said they had been beaten and manacled in police custody.
On Wednesday morning the two LTTE members, Kandasamy Ramasamy of Jaffna and Mathavan Vasanthan of Muttu,r were produced before the Trincomalee Magistrate Mr.S. Thiagendran. The Magistrate released the LTTE members according to the order made by the Court of Appeal on cash and surety bail.
Released LTTE members, Kandasamy Ramasamy and Mathavan Vasanthan coming out of Trincomalee magistrates court, Wednesday.
The Tigers, who were arrested carrying weapons, were taken into custody by the Kantalai Police on September 2 at Theppankulam in Kantalai Police division Later the Trincomalee magistrate remanded the LTTE members when the Kantalai Police produced them under the Offensive Weapons Act.
At an event held at Kumburupiddy rural development society building Wednesday evening the Principal of the LTTE Trincomalee district Military Training School, Mr. Kilman, handed over the six soldiers to the ICRC head delegate in Trincomalee Ms Lina Milner. The Trincomalee head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Mr. Abdul Burkhan also participated in the event.
The six SLA soldiers were captured on September 25 when they entered an LTTE-held area with arms in uniform. Another soldier arrested with them was released last week on humanitarian grounds.
Mr. Tilak, the Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE addressing the gathering said "We are for peace and we welcome peace. We want our people to live happily. But it is not only people in high levels who should feel the urgent need for peace. It should be felt by people in the lower rungs of the society too."
Mr. Tilak made an appeal to the media to bring to the notice of the world the treatment meted out to the LTTE members in the hands of the Police and also to the contrasting treatment of the captured soldiers in LTTE custody. Mr. Tilak urged the media to speak to the released soldiers and LTTE members in this regard.
Mr.Tilak said the Sri Lankan Police had harassed the two LTTE members after their arrest. The Tigers were assaulted, kicked and manacled by the Kantalai Police after the arrest.
Released six SLA soldiers in the ICRC vehicle with ICRC official.
The released soldiers told the journalists that the LTTE members while in their custody treated them very well. "They treated us as their own brothers. They provided every facility to us," they said.
The released LTTE members said," the police ill-treated us in their custody. They assaulted us. They pushed us on the floor and kicked us. They took us to first to the police station and then to courts. We were handcuffed. Under duress we made statements to the Police. We showed maximum restraint because of the ceasefire signed by our leader [Vellupillai Pirapaharan] with the government."