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Another navy officer arrested of disappearance of Tamil youths

Another retired Sri Lankan navy officer was arrested this month in relation to the enforced disappearance of 11 Tamil youths during 2008 - 2009. 

Luthuwahandige Thushara Mendis was arrested January 23 and remanded by Colombo Fort Magistrate's Court the following day. 

The CID alleged Mr Mendis was involved in the abduction of 8 Tamil youths who were transported to the Trincomalee naval base. He was also involved in the abduction of an individual named Ali Anver, whilst he served as the senior Master Chief Petty Officer in the Special Intelligence Unit lead by Lieutenant Commander Sumith Ranasinghe, the Daily News reports. 

Daily News report follows: 

"Mendis had also been part of the Navy Special Intelligence team that had allegedly taken the eight abducted youths to the Gun side underground camp at the Trincomalee Naval Base, from where they were being held at the Naval camp in Chaithya Road, Colombo Fort.

A CID source told the Daily News that Mendis had been in charge of a boat which provided support to this special intelligence team, especially in the disposing of bodies. He had served under Ranasinghe from 2008 to 2009 attached to the Parakrama Naval base.

CID investigations had revealed that on October 17, 2008, the intelligence team had obtained an open warrant and raided a house near the Dehiwela Police Station and arrested five youths including Rajiv Naganathan, Pradeep Vishvanathan, Thilakeshwaran Ramalingam, Mohommed Jilan and Mohommed Saajith.

The five youths were allegedly taken in their black Indigo car (KC 5565) and held at the ‘Pittu Bambuwa’ jail under Lt.Commander Hettiarachchi.

However, during the period from December 31, 2008 to the end of March 2009, one of the abducted youth, Rajiv Naganathan had been in contact with his parents Govindasamy Naganathan and Maarachchige Sarojini Perera.

The Navy personnel guarding these abducted youths had lent them their mobile phones for them to contact their families.

The CID sources said that Ali Anver had been the informant to this special Navy team, but he too disappeared in 2009. However, it was revealed during the investigations that in fact, Rajiv Naganathan had told his parents that Ali Anver had also been arrested and he was being beaten up. The five boys had been later taken to Trincomalee by Mendis and Ranasinghe.

Further, the Indigo car had been taken to Giriulla by Thammitage Dharmadasa and Aluthgedara Upul Bandara, who had also given evidence.

The duo were residents of Giriulla. Further, several Navy personnel too had given evidence confirming the detention of these youths. CID sources also added that they had obtained evidence that the Indigo car had later been handed over to the former Navy Spokesman Commander Dassanayake. Further investigations are under way."