My Captivity by the LTTE
I formally write to you in connection with my and my colleague Mr
A K Vivekananthans (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 LTTEs irregular agenda and the LTTE
gave scant regard to our sufferings during our captivity.
I also became aware that it was also LTTEs 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 AKVs
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 wont be evidence that LTTE
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 LTTEs 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 NGOs 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.