Suicide after long detention

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A 35 year old man who became chronically ill after spending 18 months in the Vavuniya transit camp committed suicide last Thursday, frustrated that he could not find work due to his condition which had persisted even after his release.

Bastiampillai Samuel Moses had come to Vavuniya from Puliyankoodal, his village in Velanai in the island of Kayts off Jaffna as his mother was settled in the town.

But security measures introduced by the PA government since 1995 required that he stay in a transit camp until he could be screened and cleared by the Sri Lankan Police and Intelligence, a process which Tamil politicians have time and again accused of being dogged by corruption, paranoia and sometimes sheer racism.

He was held in the Veppankulam transit camp in Vavuniya on the Vavuniya - Mannar road.

Efforts by his mother, Bastiampillai Ritamma, to have him released failed. Her pleas were also rejected.

At the inquest held on Friday over the suicide of Samuel Moses, his mother said that he had fallen ill as a result of the mental agony he had to endure in being incarcerated in the transit camp for more than eighteen months for no fault of his.

And when she had finally managed to get him released from the Veppankulam camp, he had been depressed that he could not find any gainful employment due to his illness.

This led to his suicide said Ritamma at the inquest.


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