Tamil detainees allege sexual abuse after transfer from Magazine Prison - MP

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 May 2008, 20:17 GMT]
68 Tamil detainees, hurriedly transferred from New Magazine prison in Colombo Saturday around 8:50 p.m. by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) interrogators, were verbally abused, tortured and subjected to sexual abuse at the notorious Boosa Prison in Galle, according to complaints made by the parents to Tamil parliamentarian Chandrakanth Chandranehru. Expressing shock at the gross violation of Human Rights, the parliamentarian has promised the parents to bring the matter to the attention of relevant quarters. Sri Lanka's Commissioner General of Prisons, Major General (ret) Vajira Wijegunawaredena on Monday denied the allegation.

The TID interrogators stripped the detainees, who were brought to Boosa, naked abusing them verbally and subjected many of the victims for torture, sexual harassment and subjected them to sexual abuse, according to reliable allegations, the Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian had told media in Colombo. He questioned the need for the intervention by the Terrorist Investigation Department while the cases of the detainees were being heard at the Courts.

Vajira Wijegunawardene who dismissed the allegation has said that the detainees were transferred to Boosa and Mahara prisons for "security reasons".

Tamil detainees in Welikade 'maximum security' prison and the detainees in high security Magazine prison (named Magazine as British colonialists used the facility for storing ammunition) have been repeatedly urging the Tamil parliamentarians to bring their concerns to the International Community and exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to expedite their cases that have been postponed fortnightly and not been heard for more than a year.

86 detainees in Welikade prison launched a fast-unto-death and demanded the authorities to let them meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, who visited Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission last October. The detainees called off the fast as Ms. Louise Arbour met five representatives of the detainees and promised to look into their plight.

According to a research conducted by the London based Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (published in the British Medical Weekly of 10 June 2000) sexual abuse of Tamil male detainees was a common problem in the Sri Lankan prisons. "Of the 184 men, 38 (21%) said they had been sexually abused during theirdetention. 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," the study further said that Medicolegal reports written by 17 doctors supported the allegations of torture in Sri Lanka made by the 184 Tamil men. The study had defined sexual abuse as comprising assaults to the genitals, non-consensual sexual acts, and objects pushed through the anus.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
13.10.07   Welikade detainees call off fast-unto-death campaign
10.10.07   Fasting Tamil prisoners attacked in Colombo
10.10.07   Welikade Tamil prisoners agitate to meet UN official
13.03.07   Condition of fasting prisoners worsens
09.03.07   TNA MPs visit Tamil political prisoners


External Links:
THE LANCET: The sexual abuse of men in detention in Sri Lanka

 

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