25 June, 2022


Video: Sri Lanka 'still torturing' Tamils – Channel 4 news

By Jonathan Miller –

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended with “credible” evidence that war crimes were committed. Now Channel 4 News can reveal mounting evidence that the government is still torturing Tamil prisoners.

The UN has already found that evidence of the killing of up to 40,000 civilians amid allegations of serious human rights abuses amounted to “credible allegations” that war crimes had been committed during the last days of the civil war in 2009.

Now ahead of a United Nations meeting tomorrow, human rights groups are calling for an urgent investigation into the allegations that human rights abuses are still rife in Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government dismisses all that as “preposterous”. He has embarked on a charm offensive to help repair his island nation’s tarnished reputation.

But Channel 4 News has spoken to two men who say that behind the smiles, there still lies a vengeful, sadistic regime. The Tamil Tigers stand accused of war crimes too. Suspected fighters were rounded up at the end of the war, but it is claimed suspects are still being detained – and tortured – today.

‘It felt like I was breathing fire’

“Nimal”, whose identity we have concealed, claims he was tortured by Sri Lankan security forces in June this year because of his association with the Tamil Tigers. “They used to beat me with a steel cable. It would peel away my skin. The pain would be simply unbearable. They would hang me upside down and dunk my head into water. They covered my head with a polythene bag soaked in petrol and tied it tightly round my neck. When I tried to breathe in it felt like I was breathing in fire,” Nimal tells me.

They would tie me upside down and dip me into a barrel of water.‘Nimal’

“I had no medical treatment. I couldn’t sleep because I had to lie face down so I wasn’t laying on my wounds. You can’t sleep in that much pain. They would tie me upside down and dip me into a barrel of water. “My wounds would feel like they were burning as soon as they touched the water. When I screamed in pain they would come back with the confession and try again to make me sign it,” he continues. “Maaran” says his treatment at the hands of the government made him want to die.

“They hung me upside down and shoved my head in a barrel of water. They laid me face down on a table and hammered me with wires, poles and rods. They burned me with cigarette butts and when I asked for water to drink they gave me urine. I thought it would have been better if I died at the end of the war rather than to have survived to face this.” The men I met have now been granted asylum in the UK. Both had past associations with the outlawed Tamil Tigers. Both were tortured in Sri Lanka this summer. It can take years to be granted asylum. The two men I met were approved within weeks because the government accepted their stories. Both had past associations with the outlawed Tamil Tigers.

Calls for ‘urgent investigation’

“Nimal” and “Maaran” are not alone. Tomorrow a United Nations committee meets to consider mounting evidence that Sri Lanka is in breach of the UN convention against torture, to which it is legally bound. Among reports submitted to this committee from 12 international organisations, the most detailed and damning is from the UK-based group Freedom from Torture.

Its Sri Lankan caseload is based on forensic medical documents compiled from 35 men and women, tortured, it says, since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. It says torture perpetrated by the military and the police is still occuring in 2011. The evidence, the group concludes, is sufficiently serious to merit urgent investigation. Juliet Cohen of Freedom from Torture, says the effects of torture can last for years. “People have been through overwhelmingly terrifying experiences, and these in Sri Lanka seem to have employed the full range, pretty much, of torture methods. “People seem to be having a very high concentration of torture within quite a short time frame, and they’re very damaged by it and theyve got physical and psychological scars.”

Turned back

This year, the British government has forcibly removed an unknown number of failed Tamil asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka. The UK has signed the UN convention against torture, which states that no-one should be deported if there are “substantial grounds” to believe they would be tortured. The government bases its assessment of that risk on the UK Border Agency’s country of origin information reports.

The latest COI report on Sri Lanka is dated July this year. Under the section on torture, it quotes international human rights groups, other governments and the UN as stating that torture is still rife in Sri Lanka. Having said all that, the report then cites a letter, in paragraph 8.35, from a British diplomat – our man in Colombo – who writes: “I asked the Senior Government Intelligence officials if there was any truth in allegations that the Sri Lankan authorities were torturing suspects. They denied this was the case.”

The Border Agency told us that it only returns those whom they are satisfied are not at risk, in line, it says, with a European court ruling that not all Tamil asylum-seekers do require protection. Human rights groups contend that failed Tamil asylum-seekers are all at risk. From the evidence we have heard from those who have made it out of Sri Lanka’s torture camps, the long war is not over yet.

The Colombo Telegraph reproduces the Channel 4 programme below;


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Latest comments

  • 0

    In the Documentary, “Lies Agrred Upon” of August’11, Daya Master, Tamil Tigers prpaganda chief reveals that from as far back as year 2000, the Tigers would wear SL forces uniforms tken from captured soldies and would attack Tamil villagers, maiming and killing them, especially those suspected of leaking information to the SL forces, to instill teror of the SL forces in thr Tamil civilians,to deter them from attempting to defect to te governent side.

    They also recorded these acts of torture in video’s and photographs to be used later for propaganda which is what they are doing now.

    This is the source of the seemingly endless supply of such video’s that still keep appearing over two and a half years after the end of the war.It is these video’s that the Diaspora plan to present to an “International Commission ” that they are agitating for directly and using their allies, in the hope that th commission would accept hese videos, as authentic without a comprehensive evaluation, like UK Channel 4 did.

  • 0

    Never in the history of human conflict have so many been mislead by so few as the tamil tiger diaspora has done with much of the western world with regard to the realities in Sri Lanka.

    This is what the former Tiger combatants and their propaganda officers have stated publicly, icluding over 50 of them clearly identifies=d an accessible , in the documentary ” Lies Agreed Upon” . On the other hand , Channel 4 as in all their previous allegation, in this video too quote from self confessed Tigers, with their monumentally notorious track record for misleading as above,without identifying them, and expect the listner to believe them They refuse to reveal the detais of the allegation to the SL Government and expect them to respond.
    How can the government investigat such an allegation if they dont reveal the names of the alleged victims of the torture or atleast when and where it was alleged to have been done. If the Channel 4 has nothing to hide why cant they release these details. The allleged victims are securely in British Teritory and not accessible to any Sri Lankan forces. Even the Sri Lankan President was not permitted his fundamental human right of speech when he went to address the Oxford union last Novemeber and had to retun without giving this speech.

    Such is th power of the Tiger Diaspora and the support they can commandeer in UK.So why does Channel 4 suppress this information. Pictures like those shown could produced by anybody any where. They are however important for the many assylum seekers in the UK if they are to continue to enjoy the comforts of UK without facing deportation as has happened to some because of the prevailing genuine peace. To achieve this, they will stoop to much worse than the pictures in this video, to paint a picture of on going torture in SL.

    If the SL forces are bent on torure and committed the torture alleged in this video why did they permit them to leave SL and present them selves to the Channel 4, when as the Channel 4 says the President is on a “Charm Offensive”. This is hardly the way to carry out a Charm Offensive.

    As before, once again the Channel 4 documentary defies logic. The only logic is that the Tiger War Chest of Billions is at work furiously, and the Channel 4 is shamelessly responding to her masters orders.

    • 0

      Do you expect a SL witness (be a Tiger or not) to disclose his version to the GOSL and live a free
      life in this world? They will very gladly tell the media like Ch4. their stories and the diaspora WILL
      support them. Do you expect Tamils, living overseas to NOT support such claims? Will the Sinhalese
      do so if the complaint is made by a sinhala man to chanel 4.?

  • 0

    This barbarous government should be punished without any mercy

    • 0

      Prove this is your real identity. You are Tamil Tiger, and your real name is Ganesh. Living in London.

  • 0

    UK , U.S. Australia , canada, european union all are fool exept us srilankan. we are the masters of this universe, any country want to launch a war we are ready to beat all of you nato.

  • 0

    Reports of deaths in police custody occur regularly in the media. Reports of incidents of torure of loved ones in police stations by relatives too are not infrequent. All this makes one beleive that torture does occur in sri lanka.
    Torture is ony one of many human rights abuses reported.
    Below is one of several reports submitted at the UN Comittee Against Torture meeting.

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