EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 37/14/93
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.
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