CLASSIFIED | POLITICS | TERRORISM | OPINION | VIEWS





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My Captivity by the LTTE

Rajasingham Jayadevan

I formally write to you in connection with my and my colleague Mr A K Vivekananthan’s (AKV) captivity by the LTTE in Vanni, Sri Lanka. We both were held in captivity for 42 and 62 days respectively. AKV was released on 19 February 2005. I was held for further 20 days as a hostage and was only released on 9 March 2005.

Our detention has been widely reported in the Sri Lankan media and some regional newspapers in London too covered the news. It is our position that we were held captive against our will and were not permitted to communicate at least with our immediate family members. The objective of our detention was to transfer a Hindu temple we were managing in London to a LTTE front charity namely “Sivayogam.” Our lives were put at risk to execute LTTE’s irregular agenda and the LTTE gave scant regard to our sufferings during our captivity.

I also became aware that it was also LTTE’s agenda to kill me following the transfer of the temple by using extra-judicial methods to circumvent violation of the international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions. They had confirmed to my colleague AKV’s wife who went to Vanni to seek the release of her husband that:

1. With the view to circumvent the Geneva Convention they intend throwing a snake on me so that there won’t be evidence that LTTE killed me.

2. If item 1 does not happen they will make me mentally incapacitated so that I will not remember of all what had happened to me in Vanni.

Luckily either of the above did not take place. I am ever so grateful for the kindness shown by the British government to put pressure on the LTTE for my release.

Having gone through a painful experience, it is my position that these types of harassment and intimidation by the LTTE is brought to an end forthwith. I note that ICRC is in a unique position to help implement international standards in this regard in view of its involvement in the LTTE controlled areas. Therefore, I request you to use your good offices to get the LTTE to abide by the international standards while people are taken into custody. They should report any arrest and/or detention to the ICRC within a specified time limit. The detainees also must have basic safeguards and access to the family and legal representation. If these standards are not strictly followed very many people will fall foul to the LTTE’s unacceptable conduct.

While I was in custody, I came to know through the Tamil media that ICRC gave its approval to a newly established LTTE police interrogation centre in Vanni on the grounds that it meets all the required standards. It is with concern I note that there are many other detention centers in the LTTE controlled area where people are held captive and are being tortured. In some cases people are detained indefinitely. The LTTE must be made accountable for its conduct and controls must be placed to safeguard human rights violations by the LTTE. I request the ICRC to facilitate a process to carry out an inspection of all these centers with the support of other international NGO’s such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch etc.,

I note with regret that ICRC offices in Vanni are not informed about the arbitrary arrests and detention of persons by the LTTE. It is also important to note that one of ICRC offices in the LTTE area was stone throw away from where we were held captive. Our attempt to contact the said office by clandestine methods did not succeed due to circumstances prevailing there. This would confirm the dire need for procedural change for LTTE to report the details of captives under its control to the ICRC.

I consider my experience, and sufferings of others in similar circumstances should not go in vain.

If you need a detailed report from me of my experience please do not hesitate to contact me. I am also prepared to forward to you various newspaper articles if you require in this regard.

I am forwarding copy of this email to the Amnesty International.

Yours faithfully

Rajasingham Jayadevan


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