1/Reports of State Minister of Prisons of entering Anuradhapura prison, threatening persons detained under #PTA with firearm & subjecting them to degrading treatment, if true,show contempt for rule of law & impunity enjoyed by govt members.@EU_in_Sri_Lanka themorning.lk/lohan-ratwatte…
2/Persons held under #PTA are vulnerable to discrimination/harassment/violence in prison. These persons said the policies & actions of govt of the day impact how guards & others in prison treat them. When HRCSL & MPs pay attn to their plight they’re protected from harassment.
3/Even unconvicted persons detained under the #PTA are labelled “LTTE”. In all prisons it was noted that morning unlock sheet categorizes persons remanded under #PTA as “LTTE” rather than as PTA remandees. Even wards in prisons where they are held are referred to as LTTE wards.
4/They said whenever a violent incident due to ethnic tensions took place in the country, those held under PTA became targets for ‘revenge seeking behaviour’ of others in prison. Thus, many persons held under PTA said they live in constant fear due to past experiences.
5/During hunger strike in 1997, “They made us kneel. You might have seen the place when you entered prison after meshed gate. After that they started beating us. At that time XX was in Chief Jailor’s room & he was having fun watching incident with one leg over his other leg”.
6/“We had so many safety issues in Kalutara. We didn’t even know if we would be alive next day…Once, Sinhala prisoners tried to enter cells by breaking the doors. They wanted to hit us. We all ran inside, but one guy fell & was brutally tortured by chopping his leg with an axe.”
7/ “In 13 November 2009, there was a riot in prison. There were about one hundred of us [in the J ward and 500 of them. They [Sinhala persons in prison ] told that they were going to kill us like in 1983. Around fifteen of us were badly beaten but I only had stones thrown at me.”
8/“[In 2012] Sinhala persons in prison hit us saying we were LTTE. They broke the door & stole our stuff. [After this, b/c our lives were at risk] without any of our belongings we were sent to Kalutara prison. We only had what we were wearing. We had nothing else”
9/“On visit days they ask what is my case & when I tell it’s PTA, they reduce no of items my mother brings & send them back for reasons that don’t seem justified. During open visits, I ask my mother to bring extra food & even then, they send food back just for reason I am Tamil.”
10/ #RepealPTA.

To learn more about plight of persons held under PTA in prison, see article 👇🏽
 
For detailed analysis of plight of persons arrested & held under #PTA see Chapters 20 & 26 of report of HRCSL national study of prisons:  hrcsl.lk/wp-content/upl…

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More from @ambikasat

30 Aug
1/ #InternationaDayOfDisappeared

SL’s history of enforced disappearances began during JVP insurrection. Prez Premadasa est 1st Comm of Inquiry in Jan 1991 & 2 subsequent Comms. They were an eyewash as weren’t mandated to look into disappearances during JVP insurrection.
2/Prez Chandrika Kumaratunge est 3 zonal comms, which had limitations. Despite this they systematically documented violations, pointed out systemic problems with criminal justice system, esp with police & Att-Gen & issued progressive recommendations, which were never implemented.
3/Southern Comm for eg found cases had not been investigated or were “distorted” “to conceal more than to reveal”. Also found they were “mechanically” labelling ppl as being involved in “subversive acts” when they couldn’t avoid investigating complaints of disappearances.
Read 10 tweets
29 Aug
1/#EnforcedDisappearances & abductions by paramilitaries.
Report of OHCHR investigation on SL(2015):By 2006, Karuna Group (KG) operated from Welikanda Army camp, alongside/on behalf of SLA & SLN intel ops, conducting ‘white van’ arrests & unlawful killings refworld.org/pdfid/55ffb1d0…
2/Presence of KG camps in vicinity of SLA camps & in a few instances within SLA camps, for eg close by headquarters of the Sri Lanka Army 23rd Division in Welikanda, show that SLA was fully aware of their presence & abductions by KG couldn’t easily have gone unnoticed by SLA.
3/In 1 case in 2006, persons believed to be from KG reportedly seen abducting young ppl in vicinity of SLA camp. SLA who were present didn’t intervene to prevent incident. Afterwards, vehicles passed thru army/police checkpoints, without being stopped, to govt detention centres.
Read 6 tweets
28 Aug
1/Report (2003) of HRCSL Committee on Disappearances in Jaffna Region during 1990-1998 says, ‘Q is often asked as to who wants past investigated & who doesn’t. Clearly the victims do, whereas those directly & indirectly responsible for crimes & those who favor a cover up do not.” ImageImage
2/Comm was denied access to SLA personnel “whose evidence was of critical relevance”. Govt said info given was insufficient to est identity-Comm found this implausible. A Col Duminda Keppetiwalana directly implicated in many complaints “claimed he remembered virtually nothing”. Image
3/Of 281 complaints given to Comm (256 Tamils & 25 Muslims) established 2 were shot dead by SLA. 245 taken by SLA & disappeared. 1 taken by Navy & disappeared. 3 returned after being in detention & 5 vanished without trace with no cause. 25 Muslims taken by LTTE disappeared.
Read 10 tweets
21 Aug
1/Glad that champions of cut & paste model of liberal constitutionalism finally realize limitations of their model. But it appears they are deflecting rather than reflecting as there is no acknowledgment of their own contribution to failure. Change begins with acknowledgment.
2/ They enabled & perpetuated chokehold of ‘NGO-fied’ CMB based civil society (CS) on discourse on required policy change, decisions on advocacy priorities etc, including by dismissing & silencing critical voices, esp from community level. This is one of the reasons for failure.
3/Law reform, esp constitutional reform, was/is seen as the primary vehicle for change, with no acknowledgment that law isn’t neutral but a system of power that is used as instrument by those in power to demonize & discriminate against certain groups. Eg counter-terror law (CTA).
Read 10 tweets
25 Jul
1)#PTA-Yet another case that shows decades-long rights violations committed under #PTA

Kangasabai Thevathasan is 64 years & has been in detention for 13 yrs. Prior to arrest, he worked as a film director & was part of national film corporation from 2004-2006. @EU_in_Sri_Lanka
2)On 14 June 2008, 10 officers in civilian clothing showed him photo of a person & asked if he knew person, who was a former student in his cinema class. So he said yes & was allegedly abducted by officers & taken in white van to an unknown location. Was blindfolded & hands tied.
3) At the place of detention officers reportedly assaulted him. His nose was broken & he fainted many times, but they woke him up & continued the torture. They accused him of involvement with LTTE, Fort Railway Station attack & having a suicide jacket in his possession.
Read 15 tweets
13 Jul
1/#PTA:Velayutham Varatharajah is 47 yrs. Arrested in Jan 2000 & in detention for over 21 yrs. Arrested by SLA in Vavuniya. Not informed of reason for arrest. Blindfolded & taken to place he later learnt was Joseph Camp. Held there 1 month & was tortured. @EU_in_Sri_Lanka
2/Kept in dark room with hands & legs restrained, except when taken out for inquiry. Assaulted during inquiry. Other methods of torture- skin under nails was pricked, hung up on a tree & assaulted, waterboarding, kicked in genitalia & bag covered with petrol placed over face.
3/Said,“during inquiry they ask Qs & whether we know about it or not they expect us to answer. They torture us until we give answer they expect.” Still suffering from health issues due to torture. Forced to sign confessions in Sinhala & blank sheets of paper with CID letterhead.
Read 12 tweets

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