INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
SRI LANKA'S WEAPON OF WAR: TORTURE
" The Sri Lanka authorities torture so that
Sri Lanka may succeed in its efforts to conquer the
Tamil homeland and impose its alien Sinhala rule on the Tamil
people -a Tamil people, who by their free vote at the
General Elections in 1977 had given a clear
mandate for the establishment of an independent Tamil Eelam - a Tamil people
who speak a language different to that of the Sinhala people; who trace their origins to
roots different to that of the Sinhala people; and who by their suffering and sacrifice have given
expression to their will to be free from rule by a permanent
Sinhala majority within the confines of an unitary Sri Lankan
constitutional structure. The short point that
emerges from the 30 year proven record of torture by the Sri Lanka
authorities is that Sri Lanka cannot impose its rule on the Tamil homeland
without recourse to terror. If it could, it would have."
உண்மைகள் ஒருபோதும் உறங்குவதில்லை,
Truth never sleeps - and it should not....
Torture widespread in Sri Lanka
- United Nations Special Rapporteur, 30 October 2007
Prevention of torture in Sri Lanka
as addressed at the 35th Session of the UN
Committee Against Torture, November 2005
Systematic and widespread police torture in Sri
Lanka says Asian Legal Resource
Centre, October 2005
Tamil Youth tortured in
Jaffna police station, August 2004
Tamil Escapee details 18-year detention, torture
in STF camp, April 2004
Endemic torture and the
collapse of policing in Sri Lanka' says Asian Legal resource
Center, March 2004
"The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) has
today released its second special report on torture by the
police in Sri Lanka. Entitled 'Endemic torture and the
collapse of policing in Sri Lanka', the 100-page report is
published in the latest edition of article 2 (February 2004,
vol. 3, no. 1).
"What we are emphasising in this second report
is that the gruesome torture still being practiced in police
stations across Sri Lanka indicates the almost total breakdown
in policing in the country," remarks Basil Fernando, Executive
Director of ALRC. "To describe policing in Sri Lanka as being in
crisis would be to understate the current situation; it is
nearing collapse," continues Fernando. "That an officer who has
forced a TB sufferer to spit into the mouth of another detainee
can continue in service despite widespread knowledge of what he
has done speaks to an organisational disaster, and its utter
degradation in the eyes of the public." The report
describes 31 recent cases of torture or killing by the police of
29 police stations in Sri Lanka, involving 46 victims, all of
whom appear to have been innocents."
Torture reports persist as Sri Lankan forces
escape justice says UN Human Rights Committee - November 2003
"The committee remains concerned at persistent reports of torture and
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees by law
enforcement officials and members of the armed forces," the
Rights Committee said in its report on Sri Lanka. It found that "very few" police or army officers had been punished on
charges of abduction or torture since the ceasefire last year and urged
authorities to promptly investigate allegations of crime against the
army or police."
Sri Lanka Army, Police torture
Balasingham Daiyaniharan - hung by feet and beaten,
Tamil youths complain of torture by Navy soldiers, June 2003
Lanka Special Task Force violates ceasefire & tortures Yogarajah
Kanthakumar, May 2003
justice system conducive to torturers - Asian Legal Resource
Centre (ALRC) at 59th Session of the UN Commission on Human
Rights, April 2003
'Torture continues despite laws' June 2002
"...Almost in every household in the
Trincomalee district there would be a complaint of
disappearance. Torture still continues in the island..."
"Freedom from torture is a universal and fundamental human right
for all and guaranteed under national and international laws.
But acts of torture are committed against men, women and
children every day."
'Torture will persist unless draconian provisions of
Emergency Regulations and Prevention of Terrorism Act are
removed ' - UN International Day - Victims of Torture in
Trincomalee, June 2001
Force tortures Ponnappapillai Sivanesan in Mannar, June 2001
people denied fundamental right of freedom from torture for more
than 25 years, May 2001
Tortured Jaffna youth petitions Supreme Court, May 2001
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on Wednesday
granted leave to proceed on a fundamental rights petition filed
by a Jaffna youth who is being held in the Boosa prison, south
The youth, Selvarajah Thamilchelvan of
Pattarakalli koviladi, Thavadi South, Kokuvil, Jaffna states in
his petition that he was hung upside down and severely tortured
while in the custody of the Terrorism Investigation Division of
the Police. Thamilchelvan said that TID officers repeatedly
burnt his hands with cigarettes and covered his head with a
plastic bag soaked in petrol while he was beaten with wires and
poles. The medico-legal report on Thamilchelvan states
there are seven scars on his body, two of which are 14 cm 16 cm
long and two 10 cm long.
Government attitudes contribute to rape & torture -Sampanthan, April
"It would be pertinent to raise the question
as to whether pugnacious statements made by persons in high
positions and the expressed determination of the Government to
continue with the war, contributes towards the unleashing of
brutality such as rape and torture on unarmed Tamil civilians
particularly Tamil females. It would appear that some service
personnel think that if a Tamil is implicated even falsely with
the LTTE any crime can be committed against such Tamil person"
of a Tamil Girl from Kayts, March 2001
"Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court this week granted
leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petition of a Tamil
girl from Kayts in Jaffna who says Policemen tortured her in
detention by repeatedly inserting a plantain flower soaked in
chilli powder into her vagina. The girl who is currently
being held in the Negombo remand prison states in her petition
to the Supreme Court that she was hung on a pole inserted
between her thighs and arms which had been tied together below
the knee and that her body was made to swing in that position;
that she was hung from the roof and battered with a cudgel; that
Policemen tortured her by pricking under her finger and toe
nails with paper pins until she bled; that she was
mercilessly assaulted with poles and wires and trampled with
boots. The girl also states in her petition that although she
had appealed to the Human Rights Commission and the Presidential
Committee on Unlawful Arrests and Harassment, they had not taken
any action regarding her predicament..."
of Mariyathas Mary Sharmila and Shanmugam Sharmila, December 2000
Reports on Continuing
Torture, July 2000
"Far from complying with its
obligations under international human rights law, however, the Sri Lankan government has
instead further eroded the human rights guaranteed in international human rights treaties
with the emergency regulations promulgated on 3 May 2000 and their subsequent amendments.
... Since the introduction of the new
emergency regulations, there has been an increase in the number
of reports of torture. In addition, the methods of the torture
reported appear to have become more severe than before and there
have been at least two reports of detainees dying in custody as
a result of torture..."
International issued yet another Urgent Action appeal on Torture, June 2000
"Amirthalingam Amuthini may have been tortured in police
custody, and remains in serious danger. She was arrested by police officers of
the Security Co-ordinating Unit (SCU) in Vavuniya on 30 May, who took her from
her home in Shanthasolai to the SCU office in Vavuniya town. The SCU is a police unit involved in interrogating suspected members of the armed
opposition group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Her mother, aged 65, has been allowed to visit her once, but they were not allowed to
speak. Amirthalingam Amuthini reportedly had injuries to her right hand, and could not
lift her arm. "
Torture of Yogalingam
Vijitha - Supreme Court Finding, June 2000
"...By way of conclusion, the Assistant Judicial Medical Officer found that:
a. There is positive medical evidence of vaginal penetration.
b. There is positive evidence of pelvic sepsis with endometriosis.
c. She has many scars on her limbs and torso.
d. She has features of post traumatic disorder.
a. Vaginal penetration by the insertion of plantain flower is possible.
b. Pelvic sepsis with endometriosis could have followed by the insertion of the
plantain flower as conclusively suggested by the Consultant Radiologist. The
frequency of urination and irregular menstrual period could have been the result
of the physical, psychological and sexual violence that she underwent while in
c. The symptoms of post traumatic disorder and depression could have resulted
from physical and mental trauma that she underwent while in custody.
d. The causation of the original injuries and resultant scars could have been
sustained in the manner described in the history given by the prisoner.
The medical opinion, in my view, amply corroborates the petitioner’s version in
regard to the injuries caused and their causation. As Athukorala J in Sudath
Silva Vs. Kodituwakku 1987 2 SLR 119 observed, “the facts of this case has
revealed disturbing features regarding third degree methods adopted by certain
Police Officers on suspects held in police custody. Such methods can only be
described as barbaric, savage and inhuman. They are most revolting and offends
one’s sense of human decency and dignity, particularly at the present time when
every endeavor is being made to promote and protect human rights”.
detainees sexually abused & tortured by Sri Lanka authorities says
study in British Medical Journal, Lancet, June 2000
"...Of the 184 men, 38 (21%) said they had
been sexually abused during their detention. Three (7%) of the
38 said they had been given electric shocks to their genitals,
26 (68%) had been assaulted on their genitals, and four (9%) had
sticks pushed through the anus, usually with chillies rubbed on
the stick first. One said he had been forced to masturbate a
soldier manually, three had been made to masturbate soldiers
orally, and one had been forced with his friends to rape each
other in front of soldiers for their "entertainment"..."
Urgent Action Appeal against Torture, June 2000
issued a new urgent action appeal
on 8 June 2000 [AI Index: ASA 37/15/00] on
torture and extra judicial killing by the Sri Lanka authorities. The text of the appeal
was as follows: Sinnathamby Pradeepan - Poopalaratnam Arulramesh - Gunasekaran Sathiyaseelan
- Samithamby Eswaran - Ganesh Chandrakanthan (killed) Police have arrested five young men on suspicion of involvement with the
armed opposition group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). One is known to have died
in custody, and the others are believed to have been severely tortured....
Background: Torture has been widespread in Sri
Lanka for many years. Amnesty International has obtained many testimonies of torture,
corroborated by medical certificates. Many of the recent reports of torture are linked to
the conflict between the security forces and the LTTE..."
Rapporteur on Torture says torture is committed with impunity in Sri
Lanka, April 2000
"In April, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture expressed concern
over continuing torture in Sri Lanka. The Rapporteur says that persons arrested
on suspicion of being a member of the LTTE are being tortured and unauthorised
places of detention, specially in Jaffna and Vavuniya, continue to be used. Prisoners held here are allegedly beaten, administered electric shocks, have petrol
poured on their back and lit and are bitten by dogs on their private parts. The Rapporteur
further says torture is committed with impunity and despite the enactment of the Torture
Act in 1995, no one has been convicted."
appeals yet again on torture by Sri Lanka authorities, September
"Sri Ram, student Anthonipillai Binoth Vimalraj,
Sivagnanasunderam Sri Kanthan (28) - The three young Tamil men named above
have been severely tortured in police custody in the capital, Colombo. All
three may be in urgent need of medical attention.
Sri Ram has been severely assaulted by police at Mirihana
police station. A final year student at the Open University, he was arrested
on 25 August 1999 ...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. Anthonipillai Binoth Vimalraj, originally from Mannar, was arrested on 24
August at New Asia lodge. 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."
Violations continue despite hundreds of letters to President
Kumaratunga, June 1999
"...Human rights violations in the east
continue despite hundreds of letters from local MPs to President
Chandrika and government ministers. Soldiers brutally assaulted
19 year-old Nithiyananthan Suthakaran near Mavadivembu Army camp
on 18 June. He was admitted to the hospital in a serious
condition. His mother and his sister Krishnaveni were also
beaten up. In a letter to President Chandrika, Batticaloa MP
Joseph Pararajasingham has demanded action against the
Amnesty continues to report - and Sri Lanka continues to torture,
"Torture by the security forces is reported almost daily in the context of their
ongoing armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are fighting
for an independent state, Eelam, in the north and east....In spite of existing legal safeguards, torture continues to be committed with relative
impunity. Only a handful of cases against police officers are reportedly pending in the
courts, and so far no one has been convicted for torture..."
In October 1997, the JMO in Colombo who examined Sinnarasa Anthonymala, a girl from
Jaffna who had been arrested by the navy in July 1995 when she was 15 years old, found
evidence of 46 wounds on her body. When Amnesty International interviewed Anthonymala
during a visit to Sri Lanka in 1996, she explained how she was held
naked and taken for interrogation by the navy up to three times per day throughout the
period of her stay at the Kankesanthurai navy camp. She was tortured by being hung upside
down and beaten on her legs, burnt with cigarettes, given electric shocks and burnt with
heated metal rods. After she was transferred to the custody of the CID in Colombo,
she was further tortured including by being cut in the back of the neck, hit in the mouth
and on the legs with a piece of wood. The JMO in his report of 20 November 1997 to the
High Court found all scars [to be] over 6 months old and consistent with those of
healed injuries sustained in 1995".
Sri Lanka Supreme Court finds that Nesarasa Sivakumar was tortured...
"..The petitioner claims that, while he was kept at the
Counter Subversive Unit, Batticaloa, he was tortured in the following manner
and forced to sign certain documents:
a. By being beaten with wooden rods;
b. Kicked on his chest and abdomen;
c. A shopping bag containing petrol and chillie powder being placed on his head;
d. being immersed in water till he suffocated;
e. burnt with cigarette butts ;
f. penis and scrotum being pulled and squeezed . .."
Peace Bureau condemns torture by Sri Lanka, April 1999
"It is sometimes assumed that in the South of
the island Tamils enjoy their fundamental freedoms and rights.
However this is far from the true picture. Arbitrary arrest and
torture are routine. "
custody continues to remain a major problem says British Refugee
Council Sri Lanka Monitor, February 1999
"Torture in custody continues to remain a
major problem. Tamil trader M Jeganathan, 46, and M Masilamani,
52, were released by the Badulla High Court in January after
evidence of torture was confirmed by the government Judicial
Medical Officer. They were arrested in June 1997 in Demodara. The torture methods included assault with plastic pipes and
batons, burning with cigarettes and covering the head with plastic bags dipped in petrol.
Confessions were extracted from them under threat of torture. Jaffna resident Somasundaram
Sivanesan, 42, says in a fundamental rights application to the Supreme Court that after
arrest in October 1997 by the police Counter Subversive Unit (CSU), he was brutally
assaulted and nails were inserted into the soles of his feet."
continues says British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor, December
Colombo Human Rights agency, the Forum for Human :Dignity
(FHD) says in a letter to the Committee of Inquiry into Undue Arrest and
Detention (CIAUD), that a young
Tamil woman repatriated from France is suffering torture at the Kotahena suburb police
station. Muthuthamby Vanitha, was arrested on 19 November in a Kotahena lodge.
The agency has appealed to the authorities to produce Ms Vanitha before the courts.
In a fundamental rights application to the Supreme Court, Hill Country farmer Somasundaram
Shanmugarajah says he is suffering brutal torture at the Nuwara Eliya police Counter
Subversive Unit (CSU). Mr Shanmugarajah was arrested at Ragala, nine miles
north-east of Nuwara Eliya, on 10 October 1998.
standard procedure in detention says Asia Pacific Centre for Justice
and Peace, December 1998
"My discussion of torture will be focused on the East of Sri Lanka, since
that is primarily where I did my research. I learned that the usual pattern of
detention continues, in that torture is considered a widespread and standard procedure
in detention. Laws regarding proper arrest procedures are still not being followed. I learned that the five main methods of torture in the east are a dry
submarine, the placing of a bag soaked in petrol over the detainee's head; a wet
submarine, the submerging of the detainee under water; the beating of the heels of the
detainee; the hanging of the detainee by his thumbs; and the beating of the detainee with
a dried bull's penis. In addition to this, I also personally encountered and heard reports
of detainees having their knee caps dislocated, their arms or legs cut off, becoming
deaf after having a pen rammed in their ears, and blind after being beaten on the back of
the head. I learned that "tougher" officers are routinely sent to the
The Cases of Sinnarasa Anthony Mala & Loius Rama - Torture, Sri Lanka
Style... December 1998
Judicial Medical Officer's (JMO) report found 46 injuries on her person. She was compelled under torture to sign a statement of being a member of
the LTTE's Black Tiger suicide squad. Though released when Colombo High Court Judge
Mahanama Tillekeratne exonerated her of all charges, he continues to stay at Welikade
prison. The reason being that hailing from Jaffna, she has nowhere to stay in Colombo in
safety. Mala was released on October 6, 1998. "
Continues reports British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor, October
"Batticaloa student Ehamparam Damayanthi, 17, accused of
failing to provide information about the LTTE to the authorities was released in
late October (1998) by a High Court, after evidence of the Government Judicial
Medical Officer confirmed her torture in custody. Ms Damayanthi was arrested in
Batticaloa in April 1996 and the case against her was based on a confession,
which the court said had not been made voluntarily. Human rights agencies
visiting Sri Lanka in October found evidence of widespread torture."
Amnesty Urgent Action Appeal against Torture of Tamil in custody,
are serious concerns for Thambirajah Kamalathasan, a Tamil man from Chunnakam, Jaffna, who
was subjected to torture for several days following his arrest by police on 15 July 1998
in the capital, Colombo.Two witnesses saw Thambirajah Kamalathasan being assaulted with a rod at Pettah police
station. Chili powder was reportedly rubbed into his eyes and his genitals were
squeezed. After two or three days he had difficulty walking. One of his legs was
apparently swollen below the knee."
tortured says British Refugee Council Sri Lanka Monitor, July 1998
"Young Tamil men originally from the
north-east suspected of LTTE links are especially at risk of
being tortured. Although Sri Lanka acceded to the Convention
against Torture in 1994, broad powers of arrest and detention
given to the security forces by the current security legislation
contribute to human rights violations, including torture. In
is facilitated by widespread impunity of perpetrators, as no one has
been charged for torture despite a number of judicial
Torture - Sri Lanka's 20 Year Record
- Nadesan Satyendra, June 1998
"..A quick tour of the record will prove that
during the past twenty years and more, torture has been carried out in a systematic,
deliberate and sustained manner by the Sri Lanka authorities. And,
notwithstanding earnest appeals by organisations such as Amnesty, 'business has gone on,
very much as usual'...The short point that emerges from the 20 year proven record of torture by the Sri Lanka
authorities is that Sri Lanka cannot impose its rule on the Tamil homeland
without recourse to terror. If it could, it would have."
Torture and ill-treatment in army and police custody widespread, says Amnesty,
"Torture and ill-treatment in army and police custody were
widespread. Kumaru Selvaratnam was arrested in March on
suspicion of involvement with the LTTE. During the first eight
days of his detention at Slave Island police station in Colombo,
he was assaulted with a broomstick. He suffered injury to the
testicles as a result of which they had to be surgically removed.
In Jaffna, torture was widespread. Methods included
near-suffocation with plastic bags filled with petrol; beatings
with wire and plastic pipes; electric shocks; and suspension by
the thumbs or ankles..."
Torture of Tamil in custody proved in Supreme Court,
was hung by his legs and tortured. His eye sight is affected
after his head was covered with a plastic bag dipped in petrol.
A confession had been obtained from him against his will,
written in the Sinhala language which he does not understand.
The police had filed several cases against him based on the
torture of Tamils - continues with impunity, July 1997 -
British Refugee Council
" Jaffna student R Pragalathan says in a fundamental rights application that
after his arrest at Bambalapitiya suburb on 7 January pins were inserted under his nails
and when he refused to sign a confession was brutally assaulted. Another Jaffna
student G Balakumar, currently in Colombo Magazine prison, also suffered torture at the
Joseph camp in Vavuniya after his arrest in June 1996.... In mid-July the Supreme Court also ordered the release of five Tamils arrested in
Jaffna in late 1996 and early 1997, including 14 year-old student A Ashok, who had all
suffered severe torture in custody. Another detainee Davis Aloysius arrested in
Trincomalee on 17 March says he was hung by his legs and beaten with batons. His head was
covered with a plastic bag dipped in petrol."
"Sri Lanka torture includes electric shock" says US State Department Report,
"Methods of torture included electric shock, beatings (especially on
the soles of the feet), suspension by the wrists or feet in contorted positions, burning,
near drownings, placing of insecticide, chili powder, or gasoline-soaked bags over the
head, and forced positions. Detainees have reported broken bones and other serious
injuries as a result of their mistreatment..."
Tortured Tamil Bodies
float on Bologoda Lake, May 1995
"... hundreds of Tamils were arbitrarily arrested and tortured. Many
'disappeared' and bodies were found floating in the waterways and lakes
near Colombo.." "In the capital city of Colombo, a video store clerk named Naresh Rajadurai, 27,
is last sighted in the company of an army officer. A week later, Rajadurai's decomposed
body is found 100 km north of Colombo with those of four other Tamil youths... corpses of
young men, many with faces mutilated to prevent identification, have started showing up in
lakes and field outside Colombo."
Amnesty Report on
the torture of Arulapu Jude Arulrajah - October
'Arulappu Jude Arulrajah was arrested on 2 October 1993 at
about 1.30 a.m. from his lodge at Bambalapitiya, Colombo by armed men in
civilian dress... Amnesty International interviewed him during a recent
visit to Sri Lanka and collected evidence suggesting that he had been held
in two unauthorised places of detention in Colombo until he was transferred
to the custody of the CID on 15 December 1993.
It also found that he had been tortured and ill treated at his first place of
detention which is thought to be an army camp by the sea, off Galle Road, Kollupitiya,
Colombo. During most of the two months he was held at this first place of detention,
Arulrajah was blindfolded, with his hands and feet chained and he was kept in a darkened
room usually naked.
He was regularly beaten and on one occasion he was hung from a wooden pole suspended
between two tables and his genitals cut, possibly with a hacksaw... Arulrajah was
never told the reason for the detention nor was he brought before a court or accused of
having committed any crime.''
International Annual Report 1992 for the period January to
of detainees was common... In the east of the country suspected LTTE members were
seized, abducted and killed by men in plain clothes who were believed to be connected with
the security forces. Victims bodies were left in public places often in a
mutiliated state. In April (1991) a number of headless bodies were found in Batticaloa: at least one was
accompanied by a notice claiming responsibility signed by the 'Black Cobras'.
In Trincomalee town dozens of abductions were carried
out be unidentified men believed to be associated with
the army... Subramaniam Ketheeswaran disappeared after he was taken from a refugee camp at
Bambalapitiya, Colombo in September by members of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party.
About ten days later he was taken to an army camp in Batticaloa and questioned about his
involvement with the LTTE..Detainees in the northeast were systematically tortured.
Victims were beaten, stabbed, burned and scalded, partailly buried or had nails driven
through the soles of their feet. Dozens of people reportedly died as a result,
reportedly in the east. "
International File on Torture, October 1985
that torture occurs in Sri Lanka have long been of concern to AI. Over the past five
years, however, the organization has received consistent reports, many in the form of
sworn affidavits, which lead it to conclude that the practice is widespread and persistent
Torture is used particularly against political detainees, some of whom have died as a
result, and also against criminal suspects. The following types of torture have been
reported to AI:
- prolonged hanging upside down while being beaten all over the
body, sometimes for the duration of one night and sometimes with the head tied in
a bag in which chillies were burning, making the victim feel close to suffocating;
- prolonged beatings especially on the soles of the feet
lying stretched out on a bench or while hanging by the knees from a pole;
- beatings on the genitals and other parts of the body with sticks,
batons and sand-filled plastic pipes;
- insertion of chillie powder in the nostrils, mouth and eyes and on the
- electric shocks;
- insertion of pins under fingernails and toenails and in the heels;
- insertion of iron rods in the anus;
- burning with cigarettes;
- mock or threatened executions.
Patricia Hyndman -
Democracy in Peril, Report to Lawasia Human Rights Committee June 1985
"Detainees often have been held in army camps, incommunicado, without access to
lawyers and relatives, and in some cases have been tortured and even killed whilst in
custody...(In one case) it was found, at a post mortem examination, that the detainee
had suffered twenty five external and ten internal injuries which had been inflicted on
him by force. This was the case of Mr.A.K.Navaratnarajah (a Tamil) who died on the
10th of April 1983 whilst held in custody. At the time of my visit in February 1985, no
one had been charged with Mr.Navaratnarajah's murder...
Trevor Fishlock reporting in
the London Times, January 1985
" Staff (at Jaffna General Hospital) told me they see
many victims of army beatings. Typically, boys emerge from interrogation
and spells in custody with multiple bruises caused by thrashings with
PVC pipes filled with sand. Some have heel fractures, having been
suspended and beaten on the feet.""A doctor said: 'I see about five of these cases a week, but remember that many
victims do not seek treatment because they are afraid... "
Case Study of Torture, Sri Lanka Style -
"..I was told to lie down on the floor. They took off my sarong and tied my ankles. My
wrists were put in handcuffs beneath my knees. I was then hung upside down from a
cross-bar on the ceiling 10 or 12 feet from the floor. Five guards surrounded me-two beat
me with S-lon rods on the feet and two others beat me all over my body. The fifth held his
hand over mv mouth to prevent me crying out. The army captain stood watching. After some
time he asked me again to name my movement. I said I was a student. He asked other
questions such as whether I knew how to use a gun and whether I had been to India. I said
"No" to all the questions.
After one hour my torturers took off for a tea break. While they were away someone
brought a large cube of ice which he placed on my private parts where it was left for
twenty minutes. [This is believed to be used to freeze the tissues to prevent external
evidence of injury while still enabling the victim to feel the pain.] The soldiers then
started beating me over my private parts. The pain was intense. I cried out and they held
a hand over my mouth to stop me. This torture lasted for two hours..."
Torture - almost universal practise of Sri Lankan
authorities says International Commission of Jurists, June 1983
"...From informal records held in Jaffna, the author has
discovered that at least 23 members of the Tamil community have died in, or
as a result of being in army or police custody since July 1979. In addition
four persons have 'disappeared' whilst in such custody and must be presumed
to dead... the former detainees detailed to the author systematic inhumane
and violent treatment at the hands of those who were detaining them over
long periods of time... Several instances were reported to the author
of persons being hung upside down with a bag covering their head into
which was introduced fine ground dried chilli powder. Evidence of the
effect of this on the metabolism of the lungs was read by the author in the
inquest depositions......the author accepts that it is the almost universal practice of the military
authorities to physically assault and mistreat those persons who have been in their
custody with the principal locations for that assault being the Elephant Pass army
camp and the Panagoda army camp in Colombo..."
Amnesty International Report, 1980
''In the period immediately after the emergency declaration (in July 1979) a pattern
of arbitrary arrest and detention existed and torture was used systematically... Six
young men, reported arrested in the days after the emergency declaration, died in the
custody of the police after having been tortured and the bodies of three of them have
still not been found...Various methods of torture have been used by both the
police and the army in the period immediately after the
emergency declaration, including suspending people
upside down by the toes whilst placing their head in a
bag with suffocating fumes of burning chillies,
prolonged and severe beatings, insertion of pins in the
finger tips and the application of broken chillies and
biting ants to sensitive parts of the body and threats
of execution. After these and other methods of torture
had been applied, statements were extracted and