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UA 256/93 - Sri Lanka: unacknowledged detention / fear of "disappearance": Ilayathamby Sithilingam, Arumugam Arasaratnam, Arulanantham Amirthanayagam

, Index number: ASA 37/014/1993

The three Tamil men above were arrested on 4 July 1993 at Tharapuram, Mannar District by police while they were on their way back to the Pesalai refugee camp from the Mannar Police Station where they had been to sign on. According to reports, the men were later seen under army custody at Suriyakaddaikadu, Mannar District. Relatives have appealed to local representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, but no information has emerged about their whereabouts. They were previously arrested on 16 November 1990 and detained until August 1992. After their release they were required to report to the Mannar Police Station every two months.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 37/14/93
Distr: UA/SC
This is a limited action. Please send up to 10 appeals per section.
UA 256/93 Unacknowledged detention/Fear of "disappearance" 5 August 1993
SRI LANKA: Ilayathamby Sithilingam (32)
Arumugam Arasaratnam (33)
Arulanantham Amirthanayagam (28)
Amnesty International is concerned about the safety of three Tamil men named
above who were arrested on 4 July 1993 at Tharapuram, Mannar District. The
three men were reportedly taken from the bus they were travelling on by police
officers, while on their way back to the Pesalai refugee camp from the Mannar
Police Station where they had been to sign on. According to reports, the three
men were later seen under army custody at Suriyakaddaikadu, Mannar District.
Relatives have appealed to local representatives of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, but no information has been revealed by the
authorities as to their whereabouts.
Ilayathamby Sithilingam, Arumugam Arasaratnam and Arulanantham Amirthanayagam
were arrested previously on 16 November 1990, together with 13 other people,
during a cordon and search operation conducted by army personnel from the Pesalai
army camp, on suspicion of having links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE). Six of those arrested, including the three men named above,
were transferred to New Magazine Prison, Colombo, where they were detained
until their release in August 1992. After their release they were required
to report to the Mannar Police Station every two months.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The armed conflict between the security forces and the LTTE continues throughout
the northeast of Sri Lanka. However, the number of "disappearances" reported
from northeastern Sri Lanka has reduced significantly in the past year. The
security forces do not necessarily acknowledge arrests at first, but whereas
previously unacknowledged arrests often proved to be long-term
"disappearances", more often now the prisoner is eventually traced in custody.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- asking for information about the whereabouts of Ilayathamby Sithilingam,
Arumugam Arasaratnam and Arulanantham Amirthanayagam, who were reportedly
arrested by security forces at Tharapuram, Mannar District, on 4 July 1993;
- urging that a full, impartial investigation be held to establish their
whereabouts and fate;
- seeking assurances that if they are in custody, they be humanely treated
and that they be given regular access to relatives and a lawyer.
Page 2 of UA 256/93
APPEALS TO
1) President D B Wijetunga
Presidential Secretariat
Republic Square
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Telegrams: President Wijetunga, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Telexes: 22650 PRESEC CE
Faxes: + 94 1 446657
Salutation: Dear President
2) Lieutenant General Cecil Waidyaratne
Commander in Chief of the Army
Army Headquarters
Flower Road
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
Telegrams: Commander-in-Chief, C Waidyaratne, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Telexes: 22496 AYCMDC SL
Salutation: Dear Lieutenant General
3) Justice J F A Soza
Chairperson
Human Rights Task Force
75 Norris Canal Road
Colombo 10
Sri Lanka
Telegrams: Justice Soza, Human Rights Task Force, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka
Salutation: Dear Justice Soza
4) Justice H A G de Silva
Chairperson
Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Involuntary Removal of Persons
Room No 2-115, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall
Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
Telegrams: Justice de Silva, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
Salutation: Dear Justice de Silva
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: diplomatic representatives of Sri Lanka accredited
to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 September 1993.

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