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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action appeal on 2 February 2000 on continued disappearance of Tamils in Sri Lanka:
"A young Tamil man, Mahendrarajah Gajamukan, was taken from his home on 30 January by men believed to be members of an armed group allied to the Sri Lankan armed forces. Amnesty International is concerned that he may be at risk of torture.
Six armed men, in camouflage uniforms and with their faces covered, came to Mahendrarajah Gajamukan's home in Rambaikulam, Vavuniya, at 11pm. Witnesses say the men asked Mahendrarajah Gajamukan in Tamil for his name and his identity card. They took him away in the back of an Isuzu truck with a covered numberplate. The men are believed to have been members of the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), an armed Tamil group fighting alongside the Sri Lankan security forces.
Relatives asked leaders of armed Tamil groups in the area, including PLOTE, about Mahendrarajah Gajamukan's arrest and "disappearance", but they denied all knowledge. The police and army have also denied arresting him.
PLOTE is one of several armed Tamil groups fighting alongside the security forces in the north and east of Sri Lanka, against the Liberation Tigers of Taml Eelam (LTTE) who advocate a separate Tamil State, "Eelam", in those areas.
Amnesty International has recently received reports about a number of people who have been taken prisoner by the PLOTE in Vavuniya. The organization has repeatedly expressed concern that members of PLOTE are holding prisoners in unauthorized places of detention. Among several people held in custody by the PLOTE in Vavuniya in 1999 at least two had been severely tortured while held at unauthorized places of detention (see UA 29/99, ASA 37/06/99, and follow up, ASA 37/07/99).
In late March 1999, army personnel raided several illegal camps run by PLOTE and other armed Tamil groups in Vavuniya, but reportedly failed to find any prisoners. As far as Amnesty International is aware, the authorities have taken no further action against the use of unauthorized places of detention.
On 2 September 1999 PLOTE's deputy leader and military commander, Manickathasan, and some other senior PLOTE leaders, were killed when a bomb exploded at PLOTE headquarters at Lucky House camp at Rambaikulam, Vavuniya. The killings exacerbated internal feuding between the political and military wings of the PLOTE in Vavuniya.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters in English or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Mahendrarajah Gajamukan, who was taken away by armed men, believed to be members of the PLOTE on 30 January 2000, and has not been seen since;
- urging that the government provide immediate information about his whereabouts;
- urging that if Mahendrarajah Gajamukan is held in an unauthorized place of detention he be transferred to a regular place of detention or released; - urging that those responsible for his arrest and "disappearance" be brought to justice.
Her Excellency President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Presidential Residence "Temple Trees" Colombo 3, Sri Lanka Telegrams: President Kumaratunga, Colombo, Sri Lanka Faxes: + 94 1 33 37 03
Salutation: Your Excellency
The Hon (General) Anuruddha Ratwatte
Deputy Minister of Defence Ministry of Defence 15/5 Baladaksha Mawatha Colombo 3, Sri Lanka Telegrams: Deputy Defence Minister, Colombo, Sri Lanka Faxes: + 94 1 54 15 29 / 68 77 68 Salutation: Dear Minister
R K Chandrananda de Silva Secretary Ministry of Defence No 15/5 Baladaksha Mawatha Colombo 3, Sri Lanka Telegrams: Secretary Defence Ministry, Colombo, Sri Lanka Faxes: + 94 1 54 15 29 Salutation: Dear Secretary
Lt-General Sri Lal Weerasooriya Army Commander Army Headquarters Flagstaff Street Colombo 1, Sri Lanka Telegrams: Army Commander, Colombo, Sri Lanka Salutation: Dear Army Commander
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Sri Lanka accredited to your country.
(AI Index: ASA 37/05/00 - UA 43/00 Fear of Torture/"Disappearance, 2 February 2000)