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Missing youth last seen arrested by SLA - Witnesses
[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 December 2003, 05:41 GMT]
Two witnesses told the Vavuniya district court Judge, Mr. M.Ilancheliyan, during court proceedings yesterday that they saw Anthonythas Ariyathas, a youth from Mullaithivu, being arrested by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers at the Mullaithivu beach before his disappearance in 25 August 1985, legal sources in Vavuniya said.
The Colombo appeals court where the case was initially filed ordered the Vavuniya Court to carry out investigations on the case and to submit a report, according to Court records.
Mr. Sathasivam Sivarajah, 55, from the village of Vattuvakal in Mullaithivu district, appearing as a witness to the incident said, "Ariyathas and I had cast our nets in two feet deep water nearly half a mile from the shore when we heard gun shots. I was injured by a bullet that pierced through my hip and I fell down into the water. When I turned to call Anthonythas for help, I saw him walking towards the shore with his hands held high.
"The SLA soldiers were waving their hands, ordering me to go towards them. When I ignored their orders and started moving away from them, I was shot at and my face was wounded by a bullet. The last I remember was that I was struggling to go towards the shore away from the SLA when I fell unconscious.
"When I woke up, I found myself at the Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital. I was also told that Anthonythas had gone missing. I survived because of the treatment I received at the Jaffna Hospital," said Mr. Sivarajah.
Mr. Suresh Kumar, another witness to the incident, said that Anthonythas was a neighbour of his and that Anthonythas usually fished in shallow waters whereas he goes with another group in deeper waters. On the day of the incident,
they saw SLA army soldiers in the area not frequented by fishermen and saw Anthonythas walking towards the SLA soldiers after several gunshots. "In my statements taken under oath I attested to the fact that I saw Anthonythas walking towards the SLA soldiers, and since the SLA were the only men occupying that part of the land, I believe with certainty the SLA arrested Anthonythas," added Mr. Sureshkumar.
SLA Attorney, Capt.Nallaperuma cross-examined the witnesses on behalf of the SLA. Eight members of the SLA, including Lt.General Balagalle and Major General Asoka Jayawardene, have been listed as defendents in the case.
The next hearing on this case was scheduled by Judge Illancheliyan to be held on 23 January 2004, according to legal sources.