7 Nov 2013

I didn’t believe Sri Lanka torture stories: I do now – Tamil victim

A Tamil man, who was tortured this year on his return from the UK to Sri Lanka on holiday has told Channel 4 News of his frustration and sense of powerlessness as world leaders prepare to travel to the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka next week.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary, William Hague, will head the British delegation.  The Prince of Wales will also attend in place of the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth.

The man, who cannot be identified for reasons of safety, had studied in Britain for several years and held a valid UK visa, but decided to return to his homeland to help his ageing parents resettle following their release from an internment camp.

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They had reassured him that it was probably safe for him to do so as he had not belonged to the outlawed Tamil Tigers rebel group. The ethnic Tamil insurgency was summarily defeated by Sri Lankan government forces in 2009.

On arrival at Colombo international airport, the man, who said he wished to be known by the pseudonym, “Yathavan,” claims to have been arrested and subjected to prolonged interrogation and torture over several days, both within the Colombo airport building and at a separate, unknown location.

Doctors from the London-based medical charity Freedom from Torture, who have examined Yathavan, say dozens of scars on his body are “highly consistent” with the injuries he claims were the result of torture.

“I deeply regret [the British Prime Minister’s] decision to visit Sri Lanka at this juncture,” Yathavan told Channel 4 News.

“Sri Lanka has openly carried out a genocide and is still carrying out a vicious campaign against the Tamil community.

“Instead of punishing this government and its leaders,” he said, “Britain is honouring them by visiting. We Tamil have no option but to helplessly watch this sad event.  It is deeply regrettable.”

Having escaped from Sri Lanka after relatives bribed security officials to release him, Yathavan was smuggled back into Britain, where he claimed political asylum on arrival.

That application, he told us, was rejected and his appeal then refused. Judges, he said, had accepted the truth of his account, but cited UK “Country Guidance” that it would be safe for him to be returned to Sri Lanka. Yathavan is awaiting the outcome of his final appeal.

“I will be sent back to Sri Lanka if this appeal fails,” he said.

“I know what is going to happen to me in Sri Lanka.  They will definitely torture me and kill me.  I would be happier to serve a life sentence in a British prison than be returned to Sri Lanka, where they will torture me to death.”

He added that his advice to any other British-based Tamils thinking of returning voluntarily to Sri Lanka is: “Don’t.”

British-based Tamil groups meet the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in Downing Street this afternoon to make clear their concerns about Britain’s high-level attendance at the Commonwealth summit.


All Tamil and human rights groups had urged the British government to boycott the event, but in May, Downing Street announced Messrs Cameron and Hague would definitely attend.

Four-and-a-half years have elapsed since the end of  the 27-year-long civil war which saw more than 100,000 Sri Lankans – both Sinhalese and Tamil – killed.  The Tamil Tigers were also widely accused of war crimes and were banned as a terrorist organisation by the British government.

But it was the brutal manner in which Sri Lankan government forces ended the conflict that has drawn deep concern from the United Nations and from international human rights groups. A UN report stated that at least 40,000 Tamil civilians were indiscriminately killed in the final months. But other estimates suggest that number may have been much higher.

David Cameron has in the past called for accountability for those accused of war crimes – which include the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Secretary. But the British government has, for the past three years, insisted on engaging with the Colombo regime.

Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, William Hague said what while “civil society is suppressed” and while “no one has been held to account for alleged war crimes,” a boycott of the Commonwealth summit would be wrong.

“By visiting, we can see the situation on the ground first-hand,” he wrote, “meet people on all sides of the conflict, and raise our concerns frankly and directly with the government.”

He said the Prime Minister would be visiting the north of the island where some of the worst fighting occurred.

“He will be the first head of government to visit the region since Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948,” he said. “He will meet people directly affected by the conflict.”

The Foreign Secretary insisted that the meeting has put Sri Lanka “under the international spotlight and has contributed to some improvements.”

Human rights groups strongly disagree.

In August, the visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded that Sri Lanka was sliding towards greater authoritarianism.

All leading international human rights groups have documented a steady deterioration in the human rights situation since the war ended.  Dissent has been criminalised, they say, while forced disappearences are common and torture is widespread.

Yathavan, the Tamil man interviewed by Channel 4 News, who was tortured in 2013, said that following his arrest, he thought he was going to be taken away and shot.

He said he was suspected by his torturers of being a supporter of the vanquished Tamil Tigers – of which his late brother had once been a member. His brother was killed in combat in 1992. Yathavan repeatedly insisted he had never been involved.

Prior to coming to the UK to study five years ago, Yathavan had been arrested and tortured while in Colombo. “Recalling that experience,” he told us, “I thought I would never be set free. I told myself that this was going to be the last chapter of my life.”

He said that following his arrest, interrogation and beating at the international airport, he had been driven to what looked like an army camp, where he was stripped to his underwear and repeatedly beaten unconscious over four to five days by security forces wielding assault rifles, electric cables, barbed wire and wooden rods.

With Yathavan’s consent, Channel 4 News has had sight of his “medico-legal report” – a forensic medical and legal document – in an effort to confirm the authenticity of his claims. A specialst doctor from Freedom from Torture who examined him confirmed that he not only bore large numbers of scars consistent with his claims, but that he continues to exhibit symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Yathavan said that he believed that he had been identified by the security personnel as having taken part in pro-Tamil protests in the UK. Many of these events have been openly videotaped by Sri Lankan agents and the evidence then used to identify those returning from the UK.

Asked if he had seen or read reports of other Tamils returning from the UK and facing arrest and torture on arrival, he said:  “I had heard about it, but I did not fully believe it.  Now that it has happened to me, I fully accept every one of those reports.”

Keith Best, Director of the London-based Freedom from Torture, told Channel 4 News:  “Since 2010, over 50 cases have been referred to Freedom from Torture in which the individual has been detained and tortured having returned to Sri Lanka from the UK.  In most cases, the individual returned voluntarily.  The risks may be even greater for those forced back if the Sri Lanan authorities suspect they have sought asylum.”

The court of appeal has today granted leave to appeal against the recently formulated Sri Lanka Country Guidance which allows for the forcible return of failed Tamil asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka.

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42 reader comments

  1. Murali Gunarajah says:

    This is normal in SL. If you are a Tamil and from a western country they presume you to be a rebel or supporter of rebels. You will either be arrested at the airport or will be followed by intelligent officers all the time.
    Myself and my fiend who lives in Witney (Prime Minister’s constituency) visited his constituency office on Monday with a petition from the local constituents pleading him not visit SL.
    Hopefully with more and more evidence coming out he might change his mind.
    Thank you Chanel 4 team for all your work on exposing the human right abuses in Sl.

  2. Canadian Canuck says:

    Come on channel 4, wtf? it is so interesting that you have become the official mouth piece for the Tamil Tiger terrorist group, at the rate you find characters and videos your whole channel looks like a fairy tale you make fox news look good. Keep up the crappy work

    1. Randy mathew says:

      I know that the truth hurts. Channel 4 is only doing their job by exposing the murderous Rajapakse clan. Yes, the Tigers were terrorists and so is your Rajapakse clan.

  3. Ishan says:

    What a lie.Tamils come and go everyday from the air port, but nobody is tortured.If he was tortured then he must have had some connection to LTTE.Lie Lie Lie.Don’t question country’s law enforcement.Don’t ruin peoples life so you could have dinner on your table.Be a responsible reporter.Funny how you created a name and all,without facts.

  4. Sinniah Sivagnanasuntharam says:

    Nobody is interested in keeping human rights now a days .Only words,when deeds come only SELFISHNESS remain…
    Let them (tamils) who will not claim responsiblity of all these from their former MASTERS. They are so slave minded !

  5. Srivanamoth says:

    Only those with a shambolic or incomplete or incoherent and twisted understanding of the governance mode in SL along ethnic and religious lines for decades who lent support to the so-called “majoritarian democracy” along with supply of arms and armaments worth tens of billion dollars in the fond hope that these would be used only against “terrorists” under “the war on terror” under cover of the PTA could have supported such an evil government. It created the Tamil rebels in the country and not only annihilated them with help from 34 other countries but also helped annihilate some 150,000 Tamil civilians ending in the final orgy in Mulliyawalai in 2009, so well captured in Channel 4 film, “No Fire Zone” which is a monument to SL’s equivalent of the final holocaust of Tamils!

    The torture of the individual in this article is part of a continuing regimen well illustrating that nothing has changed since 2009 despite the holding of CHOGM 2013 in that country! How can it when its basic governance DNA is highly flawed? The poor guy has fallen victim in his anxiety to help his aged parents back home who had undergone traumatic experiences already but then pity is not in the lexicon of such deeply flawed country.

  6. Mathi says:

    What Britain can do when one of the Asian supper power India is supporting and backing this regime’s every activities?

  7. Cynthia says:

    My Dear David Cameron,

    I thought I must write to you because I heard that you will be visiting us after all, despite all those calls to boycott the Commonwealth Summit. I suppose you must be thinking that we should be grateful to you for your presence, but that is not what I wanted to write to you about.

    When chaps in your country were asking you why you wanted to travel to Sri Lanka when there was a call to boycott the summit, I heard you say that you wanted to have some “very tough conversations” with our leaders. You also said you were “not happy” about what happened after the war was over.

    Around the same time, we had your man here, that High Commissioner chap, lecturing us that we should show progress on ‘human rights’, ‘reconciliation’ and a ‘political settlement’ as if he was talking to some kindergarten class. That is why I am quite confused.

    Anyway, it is a bit ridiculous for you to now lecture us on human rights and war crimes when your country subjugated ours for over a hundred and thirty years, depriving all of our citizens of their human rights during that period-not to mention the war crimes that would have been committed at that time.

    They tell me, David, that you are the youngest British Prime Minister in two hundred years but even then, I think you must be old enough to know that we are not your colony anymore. We gained independence some sixty-five years ago and became a Republic forty years ago, you know.

    Since then, we have been minding our own business the way we want to-even though those who led us have sometimes made a mess of it, I must admit. And that means we make our own decisions about our affairs and we are not particularly fussed about what you are “happy” with.

    I know, David, you are talking about all these alleged ‘war crimes’ that some people want you to talk about. You want to know what exactly happened and who was responsible for what. In this day and age, there is nothing wrong with that either-but you would have to be fair about what you demand.

    What I find odd is that all these allegations are being made about ‘war crimes’ that occurred in the last few months of our war when it lasted nearly thirty years. Which rock were you-and others like your Lord and Master, Uncle Sam-sleeping under, during the last three decades?

    During that time there were bombs exploding every day on our streets and killing innocent men, women and children-and we all know who committed those crimes. Hundreds of thousands died, David, but I don’t hear you talking about those war crimes or the human rights of those victims!

    Unlike the ‘war crimes’ that you talk of, these people didn’t die in the heat of battle. They were men, women and children who were going about their usual business. They were killed on buses, trains, while walking on the streets, or even while worshipping at a temple, church, kovil or mosque.

    If you could pass on the message to Channel 4, there is plenty of footage about these atrocities too, to produce two dozen inflammatory documentaries that could then be screened at strategic events. And remember that some of those responsible for these crimes are now citizens in countries such as yours!

    This is what puzzles me, David. Now if you were fair, you would be demanding justice for both sides and insisting that both aspects of the war be thoroughly investigated-and I have absolutely no problem with that. Instead, your recent remarks and demands have a hint of double standards, don’t you think?

    Talking of double standards, David, if you really are the champion of democracy and human rights that you claim to be, why is it that you roar like a lion and talk of ‘tough conversations’ with a small country like Sri Lanka, but squeak like a mouse about matters related to Uncle Sam?

    Surely you must know that Uncle Sam was recently found to be hacking into the phone conversations and e-mails of millions of people around the world including world leaders-all in the name of fighting terrorism, their euphemism for doing what they want, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.

    I don’t know whether they thought you were important enough to listen in on your phone conversations but they certainly listened in on the German Chancellor. And in your own country right now there is a criminal trial of newspaper editors who resorted to the same tactic, isn’t there?

    David, why is it that we don’t hear you utter a word against Uncle Sam, Barack or his tactics? Is it because you too believe that might is right and that these days the Prime Minister of Britain is just a ‘yes man’ to the President of the United States, like Blair was to Bush during the Iraq war?

    Don’t get me wrong, David. We Sri Lankans are reputed for our hospitality and not in the habit of insulting our visitors. But when you want to have ‘tough conversations’ with us even before you set foot here, that doesn’t sound quite right-but you can rest assured that you are still most welcome here!

    Yours truly
    Punchi Putha

    PS-I heard that you want to visit the North. If you do, David, just ask yourself whether that would have been possible if the war was still raging. Remember, the last time your Foreign Secretary was here, he was pleading with Mahinda maama to halt the war and he had to be shown the door.

    If we listened to him, we would be still be fighting and thousands more would have died. And that is why, David, we believe that what you want for us may not always be the best!

    1. Dave says:

      and… 70,000 deaths is ok then ?? that’s 350,000 litres of blood. Not counting the rapes and insults to women like you

    2. Shakti says:

      Hello Cynthia, Remember, the duty of the Sri Lankan government is to protect their citizens. What happened, the military told innocent Tamils to come to No Fire Zone. Then Gobaya Rajapakse gives orders to shoot them down. Please don’t use colonial times, at that time there were no proper laws. Today, we have international humanitarian Laws, Human Rights organisations etc to protect civilians around the globe. Tamil women are continuously raped, people are disappearing and have gone missing. Mahinda Rajapakse a psychopathic liar tells the whole world not one civilian was killed. It is extremely Disgraceful to see World Leaders allowing Sri Lanka to host Commonwealth Conference when Rajapakse has broken international law and murdered his people. We all are educated now so no excuse compared to colonial days. Mahinda Rajapakse was a Human Rights Lawyer, he is a evil man or suffering from psychopathic disorder like Hitler did. Having worked in forensic psychiatry, this is how psychopaths behave charming to the world and behind closed doors butchering people. Can’t believe a Leader of a Country can carry out such heinous crimes. David Cameron has the right to challenge the Commonwealth Summit if it is out of order.

  8. Shiva says:

    Cameron is shameful to shake hands with an alleged war criminal and it is truly a disgrace to the British tradition, values, rule of law, proud justice system and fairness.

  9. sarath says:

    the first and foremost principle of law of evidence is hearsay is inadmissible. if a person comes out at least in Britain and say it me the govt can very well investigate and disclose the truth. now it is nowhere as to find out this story is true or not. the benefit of doubt goes to the accused. the accuser at least must tell the date time and place. this type of stories can not be believed by any reasonable man or woman.

    we expect more than from country like Britain a fair play before serious allegation is made against a leader of a democratic country. David Cameroon should not be ashamed to shake his hand with Mahinda Rajapakse as he is much more an ordinary man than US presidents. US is making a mockery in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan and David dine and wine with Obama hugging and shaking hands. Whether David Cameroon comes or not Mahinda will shake his hand with Prince Charles.

  10. nihara says:

    Another bogus story from Johnathan Miller…!! Shame on you making such allegations man! how much did you pay for this guy to come up with this story??

  11. sadith says:

    Seriously is this call journalism!!!

  12. fefe says:

    The best way to get political asylum in a developed country! They visit Sri Lanka and go with Bruce/scar marks and file for political asylum. This is how Tamils got PR in other countries as well. After the end of the war there is no reason for a Sri Lankan citizen to apply for asylum.

    1. MHA says:

      UNHRC agrees, there is no reason for people not to return to Sri Lanka. Talk with facts not emotion and BS, to relieve yourself on-line. But what the heck, what ever people say on line makes not difference in the real world anyway.

  13. fefe says:

    Comment continued…..

    After receiving asylum….and several years later….. they’ll apply for British passport and then their FIRST trip will be to Sri Lanka……. and return without a single scratch mark!

    Britons…. be aware….

  14. sadith says:

    People of Sri Lanka should not allow anybody from this mean organization to put a foot on Sri Lanka. Should file a court case in Sri Lanka against this criminal organization for publishing defamatory statements against Sri Lanka. Then any person who work for this organization can be arrested as soon as put a foot in SL. Sri Lanka should not allow any criminals to leave unpunished.

  15. steve says:

    Was David Cameron living under a rock when the LTTE was carrying out GENOCIDE against the Sinhalese population. All this is because he wants the Tamil votes in his country. Sri Lanka is not a British colony any more.

  16. Joniya says:

    This itself is a very good refugee case as most tamils did in Canada, UK Australia New Zeeland and USA. If you bring all the documents and investigate in Sri Lanka you will find the truth. Try finding the torture chamber at the Airport first. May be the Defense secretary was their disguised as an immigration officer. Scar marks have to be when when they unleashed the Dogs at Airport in the torture chamber. They would have hung him with his feet for him to get this post traumatic stress disorder or may be he took a tuk tuk ( local 3 wheel taxi). Then you should verify and publish how the former Army commander and some generals from the Army took him in a white van ( most vehicles in SriLanka are white as we are all murderers ) and beat him to death. Then how these Generals asked for money. Ransom has to be paid in some mulativu jungle infested with snakes and blitering barnacles. This gives a well founded fear which is base of the case. However the judges are smarter now. These old tricks do not work any more. I can even predict Yathawans next move. Royal Canada. Good luck buddy.

  17. MHA says:

    So this is the infamous Channel 4! totally absurd. Anything for a little attention. I know many Tamils who have returned from overseas to live in Sri Lanka and have absolutely no problems. I doubt that even half of the man’s story is true and can wager that the Channel 4 ‘journalist’ has not bothered to check these facts or the background of the person. LIke so many ‘eye witnesses’ used by this fourth rate media outfit, he is probably a former LTTE cadre or one of the many self-mutilators who do not want to give up their dole given by our government.

  18. Niyamasinhalaya says:

    When I read this blog, it made me laugh. Is this what happened really or is this going to happen?
    Many SL Tamils left while 3rd phase of war has been started, its not really because of the war. Many are flew to Colombo and suburbs and bought homes and lands and still lives there in total harmony with others.
    Using the right opportunity another team found a method to seek refugee states and settle in their desired countries. Like UK, Aus, Canada, Norway etc.
    Now these people are well settled, along with families too. So when the war is ended refugee status will have no validity. Which gives alarming to them to fly back. Which they don’t like to be happen as they lived luxuriously in those countries by getting shelter and funds too.

    So all these people in those countries gathered and decided to stand against to this by creating such stories. This is the reason GOSL asked all the delegates to visit and have true look.

    I hope those who write such documents or stories will check the truth before taking a pen or start typing in future.

    Your words/letters can create wonders and same time the other way as well.

    use it wisely. Avoid falling in traps.

    Thank you,

    1. Anne says:

      Refugees are not living comfortably in Europe. Anybody who chooses to live here as a refugee must be doing so because they really do fear for their lives if they go back to their home country.

  19. Paul says:

    Just for your record.
    My wife’s cousin (Tamil) returned this year (June) from the UK to meet his family.
    He had not a single problem with the immigration officer and at the custom,
    they have not even checked his luggage. He was so surprised how friendly
    everybody has been. The same thing, when he left Sri Lanka he had not a single problem.
    Be aware there are so many fake stories because the LTTE has still allot of supporters and because of their defeat they create terrorizing stories. I see LTTE is using you as a platform for their propaganda. Do not fall into this trap.
    Best regards

  20. Sean says:

    Now, why would he go back if he was arrested and tortured once before? Just asking.

  21. Amar says:

    `Having escaped from Sri Lanka after relatives bribed security officials to release him, Yathavan was smuggled back into Britain, where he claimed political asylum on arrival.

    That application, he told us, was rejected and his appeal then refused. Judges, he said, had accepted the truth of his account, but cited UK “Country Guidance” that it would be safe for him to be returned to Sri Lanka. Yathavan is awaiting the outcome of his final appeal.
    – See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/miller-on-foreign-affairs/tortured-sri-lanka-2013/396#sthash.uCCbupXX.dpuf`

    This is a version of an asylem seeker. Scars could have been the marks sustaained in the battlefield. Hence cannot accept an LTTE fighetrs story.

  22. joke says:

    Well I don’t like the current regime in Sri Lanka but this story is a joke. There is nothing like that in Sri Lanka as he explained and proved with so called Doctors from the London-based medical charity Freedom from Torture :) common You guys can do better article than this. This is insane. No one believe this and this poor idiot will loose his political asylum appeal.

  23. Lanka says:

    In my personal opinion as all arrangement made by Sri Lankan government and as well other leaders, its not proper to boycott the Summit. Its a good opportunity for them to see in their own eyes the truth.Then they have to believe what they see and not what they hear. When there is a such a protest hosting the Summit in Sri Lanka it was organizing Committee who take the responsibility..

  24. Shermal Fernando says:

    The crux of the matter is that IF he has been tortured as alleged then its horrible and totally unacceptable…and then the response should be much more than just a boycott…….
    Having established that….its now germane to consider the following issues :

    1} The LTTE and its sympathizes were masters of deceit and one needs to probe further to find the truth after all does one think the Govt of SL is so naive as to torture a guy and then sends him back to UK to tell the tale ?? Think rationally pls….

    2} IS Sri Lanka the only country in the world that these accusations are made against ? and isn’t the UK too,,at the receiving end of similar allegations of human right abuses i.e IRA..Iraq etc.. etc….who investigates and punishes them ?

    3} Are we being asked to believe that votes { as publicly admitted to previously} do not have any bearing on this posturing ?

  25. sarojini says:

    The most obvious reason is that ch 4 highlights these incidents , relentlessly targeting SL before a major event . The same happened before Geneva UNHCR events twice and now before CHOGM . This clearly shows that CH 4 has an agenda to fulfil. This is definitely no coincidence . Why people protest in the UK , about SL and then go to SL for a holiday is mind boggling . It is possible that this character is either trying to hog the limelight through Ch4 , or making up his stories to show SL as a vile and uncivilised country . Bring his stories to the open , so that this could be investigated , now that he has reached his comfort Zone in the UK . Why is he still hiding his identity ? This has been the hall mark of the Ch 4 journalists. They are only delivering unsubstantiated evidence and dubious video footage and this does not help in conducting proper investigations. They have to come clean when presenting documentaries but this has not happened so far . Except to say these have been verified and authenticated . Let us see proper evidence for these , if not it is far from ethical journalism .

  26. Sarath says:

    What a pathetic sob story of a man who wants to be allowed to stay in the UK. Instead of running dubious tales of woe, Ch 4 aught to investigate a known and proven Terrorist leader who sent young girls to battle as cannon fodder. She appears to living comfortably somwhere in London on the money collected under duress from poor rtamil asylum seekers. Otherwise, how else could this woman live such a life of luxury. Perhaps, it is because she is a WHITE TERRORIST she needs to be protected at any cost. Look on the Internet Ch 4 , you will have pleanty of proof about this woman.

  27. James says:

    Thank you Mr Miller. Sri Lanka committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore I do not buy products from Sri Lanka and I never go to Sri Lanka again.

  28. Ranjith Perera says:

    I smell a rat here. He is probably making a case for his refugee claim. We have seen stories like this before.

    Channel 4 should provide the Identity of the person and ask for an investigation. These are series allegations but if you cannot provide identifications, it is not ethical to publish these stories.

  29. Snowdon Asange says:

    LOL.. what a scenario. wow he was educated In Britain but went back to SL and since his visa was over.. he had to look for ways and means to seek asylum… the BEST way to enter NOT just UK but many countries.. Self inflicted wounds may be… who knows… IF he was smart, he could of applied for political Asylum within UK than go back to SL… What a story for News 4 to carry… I do agree that torture and abuse of human rights prevail in SL…but MOST people are economic refugees than victims of circumstances.

    1. James says:

      To Snowdon Asange, Please read carefully, “He has a valid UK visa.”

      “The man, who cannot be identified for reasons of safety, had studied in Britain for several years and held a valid UK visa, but decided to return to his homeland to help his ageing parents resettle following their release from an internment camp.

  30. CW says:

    Congrats to Miller for prostituting the noble profession of journalism. Every Tom, Dick & Harry who is against SL can say ” I was tortured in SL”. How can it be investigated if there is no claim. Get the bastards details and lodge a complaint. Did this journalist ever question the UK Govt of allowing visa to people like Adele Balasingham who is responsible for recruiting child soldiers and garlanding them with cyanide capsules. Is that not a crime against humanity?

  31. fight4equality says:

    After reading this article; truth be told.. I was not surprised at such treatment. As a Canadian Citizen (born and raised) with no affiliation to the LTTE what so ever; I believe every bit of it. I’ve only visited once in my life at the age of 8 and I’ll never forget it for the ill treatment and inequality. I’ll never go back because its not a place to call home. Its disfigured in many ways to the point my mother could not recognize her own childhood home that we ended up circling it numerous times. What i’m trying to say is simply that what I found appalling of this article is plain and simple the ignorance of the comments. As I said i am NOT an LTTE supporter and my main concern are for civilians who are hurt and killed.. all they want is peace and quiet and to live a normal life… have a normal home.. without having to relocate. Yes.. the war is over… BUT that does not mean the inequality and maltreatment has disappeared. I dont support violence and inequality what so ever. Growing up in a nation where diversity is accepted and rather promoted… Knowing my motherland is quite the opposite is really sad… I’m a proud Canadian but i can’t say the same for Sri Lanka.

    What I find even more embarassing are those who are questioning ones despair… seeking political asylum is being joked about here as a ploy to just stay in Britain but do ask yourself the number of tamils that are in Canada, Britain, USA, Australia, Norway etc… Hundreds of thousands of Tamils in countries they now consider home because they weren’t “entitled” to the sand they were born on…

    I’m not supporting either side here whether it be the LTTE or the Sri Lankan Government; BUT all i can say is the main goal is human rights and the treatment of humans and equality.. and when one expresses what has happened to them… there is no need to belittle the situation without knowing the truth yourself… When a Singhalese civilian recounts they’re experience of torture.. it shouldnt be questioned either… So those who feel the need to judge it… question your values as a human and question your lack of empathy before spewing your opinions.

    1. MHA says:

      Most of the Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims from Sri Lanka living abroad are there economic purposes. Those that fled the war in SL did so because they had the money to do so. Many are wealthy and living an honest life in their new country. Others aware of the better life left, not because they were not safe, but because that was their excuse to get pass nieve governments jumping over each other to get cheap labor and to show how generous they are. Nothing wrong with that in the end, but some of these very same people are not making noises not out of any concern for Sri Lankan Tamils but out of fear they will be deported back because SL is safe. UNCHR has already declared SL safe to go back to and a considerable number of Tamil refugees in India have already gone back with opened arms by their fellow countrymen. The majority of Tamils live outside of the north, and have thriving businesses even during the 30 years of terror, because to the average SL, everybody is a brother or sister. Tamils and Sinhalese inter-marry. If half of the people who speak bad of SL actually knew one single thing about the country first hand, they would be done with Channel 4 rubbish by now. They are frauds, and people who believe this trash have no rational sense of thinking, to create a picture for themselves.

  32. Chakada says:

    Funnily enough I have seen another “torture victim” displaying his
    bruise/scar marks to the media alleging that he was subjected to
    torture in an attempt to claim political asylum. All these scars were
    seen on the back and areas hidden away from a short sleeved shirt.
    The torturers would have been so mindful not to disfigure him as he was
    a reasonably a good looking person.
    It highly probable that the so called scars were “inflicted” by agents of the
    “Freedom from Torture” in a hidden location in S.L and paid by the
    diaspora. What a joke

  33. Anne says:

    To all those disbelievers in the comments section below, you should try to understand how horrible it is trying to claim asylum in any European country. Genuine asylum seekers frequently suffer cruel injustices (such as detention and rough treatment from security officers) and indeed hatred from other people too.
    I believe the gentleman in this story. I believe he went back to Sri Lanka not expecting any trouble because the war was over. But tragically he discovered that Tamils are still being persecuted today. And sadly I am discovering that Tamils (and other persecuted people from other countries) are being persecuted all over the world when all they are trying to do is flee from being tortured to death.
    On Remembrance Sunday I would like to remember the United Nations Conventions that are supposed to protect vulnerable people like the gentleman in this story.
    Dear Sir, I am a British citizen (by birth of British parents) who is remembering you today.

  34. Vasanth says:

    Hats Off U!! Channel 4.. For exposing all the atrocities happened in Srilanka, when other medias are either biased or feared!!

    Wish to continue your work..

  35. Philip Harding says:

    You have to be Tamil to realise what it is to suffer at the hands of the oppressors in Sri Lanka.

    One who was born to Tamil parents who were traditionally in Colombo for over 100 years, I bear testament to the brutality that is dished out to Tamils.

    When I read response in defense of the government and accusations of Tamils being part of the LTTE, it is infuriating. Always considered myself to be a Sri lankan first and then a Tamil.
    Channel 4 and the rest of the News Agencies that highlight the atrocities that is meted out to the Tamils need to applauded.
    We see Singhalese Journalists being killed and tortured for speaking out the truth.

    Get a life – those who are in denial.

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