Human Rights

UN urged to probe poisoning of former Tamil fighters

 

Tamil lawyers in Sri Lanka have called upon the United Nations to investigate the suspicious deaths and serious physical disabilities of Tamil Tiger rebels following their release from state custody.

“The numbers of dead among the category of ex cadres who have served time in Rehabilitation facilities stand at a high 107 within the last 4-5 years and have added weight to the seriousness of the allegation leveled against the Military and Defense establishment of Sri Lanka,” says the Tamil Lawyers Forum (TLF) in an open letter to the UN.

Following the initial exposure by the northern province health minister Dr T Satyalingam that 107 mysterious deaths of ex LTTE have been reported, the Northern Provincial Council(NPC) unanimously adopted a resolution in early August demanding that the government launch an investigation.

However, the strongly worded TLF letter, criticising the failure to launch an internal investigation so far, warns that victims have lost all hopes of the government initiating any action on their complaints.

Tamil National Alliance

The letter has also slammed the country’s major Tamil party leading the opposition of ‘sailing together with the present government’ and being passive, even though some of its parliamentarians have alleged that many former LTTE members who either surrendered to the military or were arrested have been administered with a lethal substance and set free to meet an untimely death.

“It has been observed that several former LTTE cadres in the prime of their life are suffering from physical disabilities ranging from debilitation, impairment, permanent privation of eyes, ears and other limbs, emasculation, deliriousness and disfiguration,” says the letter signed by leading Tamil Human rights lawyers KS Ratnavale and V.Puvitharan.

Internationally trained on poisoning

Giving examples of several high profile killings of political dissidents around the world, TLF says that It is very likely that the Sri Lanka military would have been trained abroad in the use of chemical and poison injections to eliminate rivals.

While the Sri Lanka military denies any involvement in the deaths and illness of former rebels, government spokesman Dr Rajitha Senaratne told journalists last month that the government has requested details to investigate the deaths.

Casting doubts upon the government investigating its own security establishment, TLF has called upon the UN top human rights body to appoint a team of scientists including medical experts of international repute and competence to examine the victims.

© JDS