|The News Line: Feature
Monday, 20 September 2010
HUNDREDS OF TAMIL YOUTH TORTURED –as Rajapakse strengthens his dictatorship
TAMILNET reports that the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lankan government continues to torture hundreds of Tamil youths arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) without trial.
The information was provided by a journalist who had met the detainees and gave the information under conditions of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka government intends to keep the Tamil youths who were combatants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in detention for five more years, sources close to Sri Lanka prison authorities said.
Tamil youths who had been arrested under the PTA in the North and East besides those arrested in Colombo and its suburbs where they had been employed have been detained for more than five years in places like Colombo TID Head Office and Boosa Prison.
TID men who had brought LTTE former combatants held in the camps in Vavuniyaa and Velikantahai to Colombo in the name of interrogation continue to torture them.
The TID men further threaten the youths that they may have to spend their lifetime in prison if they refuse to sign statements prepared by the TID.
The TID men attacked the detainees using iron rods, cricket bats and batons, besides squeezing their testicles.
Videos of detainees being killed and tortured are shown by the TID men to terrorise the detained youths.
Not only the Tamil detainees but their family members who visit them are also subjected to untold difficulties. Only ten minutes are allowed for such visitors who had travelled a long way to see the detainees.
The visitors are not allowed to give any food that they had brought along but forced to buy food from the prison canteen run by a Boosa Prison officer if they want to give the detainees any food.
It is alleged that Abdeen, a Muslim officer of the Division Four of the TID extorts money from the relatives who come to see the detainees and that another Muslim officer Mohamed tortures the Tamil detainees with racial hatred.
Meanwhile, the detainees in Boosa Prison are not allowed medical treatment if they fall ill while the sanitary facilities are very poor. There are only three lavatories for hundreds of prisoners and only a minute given to each to bathe. A request for more water is replied to with ruthless attacks.
Meanwhile, the editor of ‘Uraikal’, a weekly paper published in Kaththaankudi in Eastern Province, has alleged that a gang of men sent by Sri Lanka minister M. L. A. M. Hisbulla have for the second time attacked his house in Kaaththaankudi on 13 September, in a complaint made to Kaaththaankudi police.
A news item in the paper had contained information exposing the corruption in the Co-operative sector administered by the minister’s men was the reason for the attack, the editor, Rahmathulla, said and added that so far the police have failed to take action against the minister or his men.
The office of the weekly paper was first attacked by the minister’s men on April 1 2009. The editor was threatened and the things in the office including computers had been smashed.
Freedom of the press violated by politicians like Sri Lanka minister Mervin Silva in the South and journalists abducted by ruling party politicians have become frequent incidents in Sri Lanka, journalists in Eastern Province said.
The Sri Lanka government and its police turned a blind eye to these incidents, they added.
• Sri Lanka has revised down the official casualty figures of a massive explosion last Friday that destroyed a police station in the eastern Batticaloa district, from over sixty dead to an official count of 25.
However, local government officials amongst those who rushed to the site said dozens of bodies from the rubble had been swiftly removed by Sri Lankan forces.
Citing negligence, the authorities said later on Friday that two Chinese construction contractors, seven civilians and 16 policemen were amongst those killed when containers of dynamite stored at the Karadiyan-aa’ru police station exploded.
Local officials, however, insisted over 60 people, mainly police had been killed. It was not clear why the authorities, who have also ruled out sabotage, were downplaying the blast, they added.
‘We are going to clear the site and see if there are any more bodies trapped under the wreckage of vehicles and buildings that were completely destroyed,’ a local relief official said.
He said the death toll was officially placed at 25 based on a body count, but investigators were working to establish whether there were more people missing after three containers of dynamite blew up.
‘We completely rule out sabotage. There is no threat to security in that area,’ military spokesman Major General Ubaya Medawala said.
Earlier, Medawula said that: ‘Sixty people inside the police station have been killed. Most of them are policemen.’
The Karadiyanaa’ru police station was completely destroyed as well as several other buildings in the area. Only two policemen in the building had survived the blast. The explosion also demolished the nearby Agricultural Department building.
The three containers of dynamite stored in the premises of the police station had been intended for rock blasting by a Chinese company building roads in the district.
The Chinese embassy dispatched officials to visit the region and is said to be conducting its own inquiries into the incident.
Around 100 persons, including Sinhala engineers from the South, wounded in the blast were rushed to the Batticoloa Government hospital and they were treated for burn injuries, police and hospital officials said.
Officials at the hospital have been instructed to remain tight-lipped on casualty details, they told local reporters.
Sri Lankan authorities said 54 people had been wounded.
Ex-LTTE members deployed in the construction work under Colombo’s much-publicised rehabilitation programme were likely among the victims, a local NGO official told reporters in Colombo.
l The second court martial, last Friday, sentenced Sarath Fonseka, to a prison term not exceeding three years, on being found guilty for violating tender procedure in purchasing arms whilst Commander of the Sri Lanka Army.
The second court martial further said that whether the sentence is to be served or not is to be decided by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse.
Fonseka, the defeated candidate in the last Sri Lankan presidential election held in January this year is being detained in the Sri Lanka Navy headquarters since he lost to the incumbent president Rajapakse.
Fonseka is to file an appeal against the sentence in the Court of Appeal today, Monday, according to the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) parliamentarians Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
The first court martial after the inquiry found Sarath Fonseka guilty of involvement in politics while serving as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and ordered him to be stripped of his rank of General as a punishment.
The sentence was later ratified by Rajapakse.
Fonseka is a parliamentarian from the Colombo district and the leader of the DNA.
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