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Story of detention, torture and continued threats – on return after attempting to claim asylum in Australia

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”Two of those who were with him in Boossa and released along with him have since then been abducted and disappeared. The mothers from those families have informed his mother about this on the telephone and asked if S was safe. His mother has since passed away.”


 13th July 2011
S. Born April 1983. From Mutur in Trincomalee District, Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

Mother was abandoned by father, and moved to live with S in Negombo in the Western province in 1990. From age 12, S began to work in the jewellery trade as a jewllery maker. The mother and son moved back and forth between Mutur and Negombo as the political situations changed.

S went to Qatar for work in August 2006; that did not work out and he returned home in December that year. In 2009 he again left for Singapore in search of work. From Singapore, he traveled overland to Malaysia and worked as a labourer for some time, with other Tamils from Sri Lanka. Here he was approached by an agent who promised them jobs in Australia on payment of SL rupees 100,000 as an advance. One of S’s friends paid this amount on his behalf.

In November 2009, S was among 254 persons who left Malaysia for Australia on a boat. The boat was stopped by the Indonesian Navy near Mehrak. By this time, S and many others had lost their documents and belonging due to rough seas. Most of the people on the boat refused to get off the boat. S and 5 others were the only ones who left the boat voluntarily and on the request of the Navy and of the IoM. They spent one month in prison in Indonesia. S was the only one who agreed to return to Sri Lanka. On November 25, 2009, S flew back to Colombo from Indonesia via Singapore, on a ticket given to him by the IoM. The Sri Lankan embassy in Jakarta issued a temporary travel document to enable him to make this trip.

On arrival at Katunayake International Airport, S was first stopped and questioned by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who were suspicious of him because of the IoM bag he was carrying. Then he was stopped at the Immigration Counter. Once again the CID turned up. S was taken into a room and assaulted; he says those who beat him asked him about his links with the LTTE, saying that the IoM had also been supporting the LTTE. He suspects that the main interrogation was done by someone who is a member of an armed paramilitary group operating in the East.

On November 27th he was transferred to a place he was told was the Fourth Floor. There he was again questioned, this time by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). On December 3, 2009, he was transferred to the Boossa Prison in Galle, in the Southern province.

In Boossa, S was taken to see the Prison doctor, but he did not say anything about having been beaten. After this visit, S was again subjected to severe beatings amounting to torture.

S was released from Prison on January 20, 2010. He first returned to Negombo and then went to Anbuvelipuram, Trincomalee to stay with a friend. However, conditions there were also not comfortable; due to feelings of insecurity S returned to Negombo.

His present situation: June 2011

He has no job. He is dependent on family and friends.

He has problems with focusing his eyes which he feels is due to the beatings. This means he cannot do the fine work in hand crafting jewellery that was his main occupation. He has never received any medical treatment for his injuries because he was afraid to tell a doctor the reasons for his injuries.

Two of those who were with him in Boossa and released along with him have since then been abducted and disappeared. The mothers from those families have informed his mother about this on the telephone and asked if S was safe. His mother has since passed away.

On May 21, 2010, someone from the CID telephoned S on his mobile phone to check if he was still living at the Negombo address. He was told that she should be available whenever the CID calls for him.

On December 23, 2010, S was abducted and taken to a deserted place and beaten; he was repeatedly questioned about others who had been on the boat with him. This has happened to him again in 2011.

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