Tamil political prisoners transferred to cells with criminal inmates in Anuradhapura

[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 January 2018, 16:47 GMT]
A 70-year-old Tamil political prisoner from Mannaar and a 40-year-old political prisoner from Chaavakachcheari in Jaffna, both of whom survived a fatal assault by Sinhala prison guards, STF commandos and military intelligence personnel five years ago, complained on Friday that they have been transferred to cells with Sinhala criminal prisoners in Anuradhapura prison. The Tamil prisoners have been complaining for a long time of threats of ethnic violence against them from Sinhala prisoners. Apart from being subjected to violence, some Tamil political prisoners have also been exposed to narcotics from the criminal prisoners.

Nadarasa Saravanabhavan (40) and Sinnappar Packiyanathar (70) were among the 15 Tamil political prisoners who survived a fatal assault in June 2012 at Vavuniyaa prison.

As with many of the Tamil political prisoners, the two are facing multiple cases.

Recently, in one of the cases, they were sentenced with 7 years of imprisonment. Citing the ‘terrorism’ verdict in Vilpattu case, they were transferred to cells with criminal inmates in Anuradhapura prison, where they are being subjected to psychological torture by fellow Sinhala prisoners.

Usually, Tamil political prisoners are kept together until all their cases are addressed.

But, in the case of Saravanabhavan and Packiyanathar, the transfer was part of ‘collective punishment’ for the continuous protests by Tamil prisoners against facing cases outside the courts in North-East, fellow Tamil political prisoners said on Friday.

The fatal assault on Tamil prisoners took place after fellow Tamil prisoners protested against the torture meted out on Saravanabhavavan in 2012.

The protest developed into a violent standoff between the protesting prisoners and Sinhala prison guards, who attempted to force-feed the protesting Tamils.

After the episode, elite soldiers of the SL military and the commandos of the notorious Special Task Force entered into the prison and brutally attacked the Tamil political prisoners in one of the heinous prison assaults to be reported in the recent years.

Two prisoners, 28-year-old Ganesan Nimalarooban from Nelukku'lam in Vavuniyaa and Dilrukshan Muthurasa from Iluppaikkadavai, in Maanthai West of Mannaar, succumbed to their wounds following the brutal assault.

Saravanabhavan narrowly survived from torture and attack.

Recently, when University students met SL President following the continuous protests by the Tamil prisoners in Anuradhapura prison, they specifically urged Maithiripala Sirisena not to separate the Tamil political prisoners from each other.

But, none of the demands of the Tamil political prisoners have been honoured by the Sinhala Establishment or the Geneva-based UN Human Rights mechanism.


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