Amnesty slams Police torture

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 September 1999, 16:47 GMT]
(FOCUS) Three young Tamil men have been severely tortured in police custody in the capital, Colombo and all three may be in urgent need of medical attention, said Amnesty International, the London based human rights group today.

In a statement issued today, Amnesty named the three men as Sri Ram, a student, Anthonipillai Binoth Vimalraj and Sivagnanasunderam Sri Kanthan

"Sri Ram has been severely assaulted by police at Mirihana police station," said Amnesty

A final year student at the Open University, he was arrested on 25 August 1999 at Kotahena reportedly in connection with the killing of Dr Neelan Thiruchelvam, a Sri Lankan member of parliament, by a suicide bomber, whom the police suspect to have been a member of the Liberation Tigers.

"Eight other students arrested by the Mirihana police have since been released: two of them were badly tortured, and have scars from being beaten on their backs and hung up by their wrists," said Amnesty.

Anthonipillai Binoth Vimalraj, originally from Mannar, was arrested on 24 August at New Asia lodge, said Amnesty.

"During interrogation at Kotahena police station he was allegedly beaten all over his body, had pins inserted under his fingernails and had an iron rod inserted into his anus," Amnesty said.

Sivagnanasunderam Sri Kanthan is in custody at the headquarters of the Crime Detection Bureau (CDB) in Colombo said Amnesty.

Relatives were allowed to visit him for the first time on 4 September, a month after his arrest, for five minutes. They say his face was swollen, he had difficulty walking and appeared to have a fever.

Amnesty said other sources reported that he had been hung by a rope and beaten all over his body. Sivagnanasunderam Sri Kanthan, originally from Kodikamam, Jaffna, was arrested on 4 August at Wellawatte.

"For years, torture has been one of the most widespread human rights violations in Sri Lanka," said Amnesty, adding it has obtained many testimonies from victims of torture, and medical certificates corroborating these testimonies.

"Young Tamil men originally from the north or east of the country are especially at risk," Amnesty said.

Amnesty said the Sri Lankan security forces have broad powers of arrest and detention, which "have contributed to the prevalence of human rights violations, including torture. Torture has also been facilitated by widespread impunity of the perpetrators."

"To date, no member of the security forces has been brought to justice for committing torture," Amnesty said.


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