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Tamils still held in secret Sri Lankan military camps

The Sri Lankan military still holds Tamils in secret camps, where they are still being tortured, JDS reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently denied TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandran’s assertion that the government still operated such camps.

"After we took over the government, there are no secret camps. I cannot speak for the time before that," Mr Wickremesinghe said in Jaffna on Friday.

However, relatives of four people who were abducted have said there are secret camps in the Vanni, including in Keppapilavu and Mullaitivu. The relatives have contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and sought its help to get those abducted released.

See below for summary of the article published by JDS.

Balananthini Viswanathan has filed a writ application in the Mullaitivu district court demanding the court to help releasing her husband Chelliah Visvanathan who had surrendered to the army during the final days of the war in May 2009 and has not been seen since.

She says her husband is being held in an army camp in Keppapilavu, a village in the Mullaithivu, completely taken over by the military, denying access to about 350 native families displaced by the war.

Her writ application is set to be taken up tomorrow in the court.

Another former LTTE cadre, who also surrendered to the army in May 2009 contacted one of his relatives rom this camp and said that around 50 people are being held in the camp.

JDS withheld the details of this person and those of his relatives for security reasons.

Meanwhile, a mother whose son was abducted in 2011 said that her son, Ravindran Mayuran, was brought to the Mancholai hospital in Mullaithivu late last month for treatment.

According his mother Rosemalar, some relatives met Mayuran and spoke to him at the hospital on February 27, assuming he had been released from military custody. But when she went to the hospital the following morning to visit Mayuran, she was told by doctors that no one in that name was admitted to the hospital.

The JDS said it learnt that the military personnel who brought 27-year old Mayuran to the hospital warned hospital staff not to maintain any records related to his admission.

According to his mother, Mayuran told relatives during the brief meeting that he was tortured in an army camp in Mullaitivu, adding that he had been badly affected and was often falling ill due to excessive torture.

Mayuran, a father of one, from 8th Division Manthuvil in Mullaithivu was first taken away from the Arunasalam Welfare Centre in Manik Farm, the large detention camps set up to hold Tamils from the Vanni, in May 2009 by the military for interrogation. He was held and interrogated in the Nelukkulam, Vavuniya Chinna Mankulam and Welikanda military.

He was released on 16 November, 2010 at a function at Vavuniya Tamil Maha Vidyalayam and was living with his wife and child at Kadirgamar Welfare Centre. He used to go out and do some odd jobs to look after his family, JDS further said.

On 2nd February, 2011 he was abducted while returning from work. The family informed the ICRC and was still waiting to find his whereabouts, when his relatives encountered him at the hospital. They were forced to end their conversation when they noticed they were being observed by those who brought him to the hospital.

Another case is Jegatheepan Devaraja, who disappeared in April 2009 and was seen by his cousin travelling in a military truck. The 27 year old from Mullaithivu was wearing clothes similar to those of the army.

In February, TNA spokesperson Suresh Premachandra said over 700 Tamils were held at a secret camp in Trincomalee and urged the government to investigate the reports.

Over 700 people held at secret army camp – TNA (20 Feb 2015)

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