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Sri Lankan intelligence torture Tamil man after abduction from church

Updated 0430GMT

Sri Lankan intelligence operatives have reportedly tortured a Tamil man from Mannar, after abducting him from a church on Wednesday morning, reports Ceylon News.

Photograph: Ceylon News

Santhiyogu Anton Dani was abducted from Uyilankulam church in Mannar, where he had sought sanctuary after frequent harassment from Sri Lankan intelligence officers for the past two months.

Mr Dani fled to the church after hearing Sri Lankan intelligence operatives were looking for him. He went missing on Wednesday morning and was subsequently found at Nochchikulam later that evening, at an area some 2 kilometres from the church. 

He was found blindfolded with his body bearing the marks of severe torture.

The victim’s wife Mathuvanthy Anton, said he had been burnt with heated metal sticks and severely beaten. During several hours of torture, he was also hung by his neck and is currently unable to speak properly, she said.

Ms Anton has reported the incident to local police in Mannar.

Photograph: @Mari_deSilva

Mr Anton told his wife that abductors had walked into his room in the church, tied his hands and bundled him into a vehicle before taking him away and torturing him. He added that he had seen another person being badly tortured by his abductors.

Santhiyagu had been previously arrested in 2001 on suspicion of aiding the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil Eelam. After undergoing torture in government custody, Mr Anton was later released by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court without any charges. He has reportedly been frequently tortured by Sri Lankan security forces since at least 1998.

Photograph: ColomboPage

The latest evidence of ongoing abduction and torture, comes as Sri Lanka's president Maithripala Sirisena joined a march against torture at the Southern capital of Colombo on Thursday.

Yet, under Mr Sirisena's presidency, torture has remained in frequent use, with UN Special Rapporteur  Juan E Mendez, noting that ‘torture continues to be used’ in Sri Lanka, during his visit to the island earlier this year.

In recent weeks, reports also emerged of the arbitrary detention and beating of a British Tamil citizen that arrived in Sri Lanka.

The report of yet another incident of abduction and torture comes just days after Sri Lanka’s progress on implementing resolution 30/1 was discussed at the United Nations Human Rights Council.  

Also see our earlier posts: 

Systemic torture and rape oppressing Tamils under new Sri Lanka government (05 Jan 2016)

Sri Lanka continues 'multifaceted assault of terror' on Tamils under new government (28 Jul 2015)

UN confirms existence of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, calls on gov to reveal other possible locations (18 Nov 2015)