Army denies torture claims

The army has denied claims made by a Sri Lankan man to the Australian media that he was tortured and abused by army intelligence officers.

Militray spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya told the Colombo Gazette the allegations are part of an attempt by parties that campaign in Australia against extradition of economic refugees who illegally migrate purely for economic reasons.

“Their attempt is to paint a false picture and pressurize the Australian authorities in order to influence the current policy of deportation. In the recent past close to 1000 persons have been returned and they lead normal lives. This is another attempt to justify illegal entry into Australia and to resist Australian Government’s stand on illegal (false) asylum seeker who migrate to Australia and other western countries purely for economic gains,” he said.

Kumar, as the Australian media call him, says just three weeks ago he was abducted, raped and tortured by Sri Lankan army 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,” he told ABC’s 7.30 program.

Kumar arrived in Australia in 2008. He fled Sri Lanka after being interrogated and accused of links to the Tamil Tigers.

He says he was working as a school bus driver when he was coerced by the Tigers to deliver parcels for them.

Kumar’s family joined him in Australia last year. In March, he needed to return home as his uncle fell ill.

Less than a week after he arrived home to manage his uncle’s restaurant, Kumar says he and his brothers were abducted at gunpoint by two men in a white van.

He was blindfolded and taken to a dark room with “dried blood” on the walls.

He says the men claimed to be army intelligence officers and grilled him about links to the Tamil Tigers, which he denied.

“They came back and again started hitting me with a log at my back and now I’ve got a spine problem as well,” Kumar said. (Colombo Gazette) 

Report by Easwaran Rutnam