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Tamil from Australia tortured in Sri Lanka

Photograph ABC

A Tamil man from Australia who returned to Sri Lanka last month to visit a sick family member was raped and tortured by Sri Lanka’s security forces.

Speaking to Australia’s ABC, the man, only identified as Kumar, made shocking claims regarding the treatment he was subjected to on return.

See video of news report here.

Kumar was abducted by a white van, soon after his arrival and taken to a blood-stained room by army intelligence officers.

"I was naked and no place to sleep, except the floor like a dog. I felt like dying but I thought of my kids and family back here,

"They came back and again started hitting me with a log at my back and now I've got a spine problem as well,

"The two guys were drunk and they came to me and they just put their hand on my body and they just rubbed me and I had some sexual torture as well,” Kumar said.

On the fourth day in captivity Kumar was branded on his back with hot irons.

"I thought that's the end of my life and I just fainted," Kumar said.

"When they see my back they will know what has happened to me recently, because a lot of stories [do not] come out from Sri Lanka.

"I can't forget. No-one wants to get these kinds of things in their life. I pray to God. No-one must get this kind of punishment."

He escaped after his uncle bribed his captors with A$20,000.

On his return, Kumar was referred to Louise Newman by the Tamil Refugee Council.

An expert adviser on the mental health of asylum seekers, Newman said Kumar’s story was “credible”.

"He provides detail and is very preoccupied with some of the minute details of the actual atrocities that were performed on him which is very typical... of the accounts we get from people who have been through these sorts of experiences," she said.

Former UN spokesperson in Sri Lanka Gordon Weiss also says Kumar's story is believable.

"There have been a series of reports in just the last few months from the US state department, from Human Rights Watch, from the UN high commissioner for human rights, detailing this kind of treatment," he said.

"One has to remember that the people in charge of Sri Lanka at the moment have got a long history stretching back to the 1980s of using torture and abduction in order to suppress segments of the population."

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, who was in charge of the Sri Lankan Navy, during a period when security forces committed war crimes, denied the allegations.

"If he has been treated in the manner that he has just explained by you, he is welcome to come and present it to me or present it to any government authority with his name and identity," he said.

"Sri Lanka is transparent. Our system of judiciary and investigation is transparent."

Meanwhile, the Australian government continues to deport Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, claiming there is no evidence of torture.

"Since 2010 there has been no evidence of returnees being discriminated against or arrested, let alone tortured," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said.

"I think it's wrong to say Tamils live in fear and are fleeing their country."

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