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Nov 15, 2017

Torture charges against SL police raised at US committee Featured

The US House foreign affairs committee democrats say the seriousness of reports alleging torture accusations against Sri Lanka police should make the US wary of advancing its military relationship with Sri Lanka until a full accounting has occurred.

The democrats are issuing a twitter message in response to an article by Associated Press that levels the allegations.

The article says,

“Raped, branded or beaten repeatedly, more than 50 men from the Tamil ethnic minority seeking political asylum in Europe say they were abducted and tortured under Sri Lanka's current government.

Many of the other victims said they had never worked for the Tamil Tigers. But all told similar tales: they were abducted at home or off the streets by men in white or green vans, they were tortured for days or weeks or months, a family member often secured their release through a bribe, and they made their way to Europe using smugglers.

Most of the men say they were blindfolded as they were driven to detention sites. They said the majority of their captors identified themselves as members of the Criminal Investigations Department, a police unit that investigates serious crimes. Some, however, said it appeared their captors and interrogators were soldiers based on the types of uniforms and insignia they were wearing.

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Twitter message by US House foreign affairs committee democrats

Although combat ended 8 years ago, the torture and abuse occurred from early 2016 to as recently as July this year.

The AP reviewed 32 medical and psychological evaluations and interviewed 20 men.

Most of the men said they were sexually abused or raped, sometimes with sticks wrapped in barbed wire.”

The AP article has been published by Guardian, The Independent, New York Times, Washington Post and other newspapers.

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‘…Authorities have disciplined 33 members of the police force…’

Responding to the article, the Sri Lankan government said it “strongly condemns any act of torture” and would ensure that any such allegations are “investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

It urged those with evidence of abuse to come forward and report it.

“The government seeks the assistance and cooperation of all those relevant parties in this endeavor including parties outside the country, as evidence is key in the conduct of investigations,” said the letter, signed by Foreign Affairs Ministry official Prasad Kariyawasam.

The government noted in its letter that some allegations were already being dealt with. This year, authorities have disciplined 33 members of the police force and dismissed one, it said, with another 100 cases still pending.

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