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Aug-22-2013 03:27printcomments

What Happened to the LTTE Prisoners of War?

To kill these young people, most of them in their teens, one must have an extremely cruel heart.

LTTE prisoners

(MELBOURNE) - The following letter was written to Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay on the even of her visit to Sri Lanka.

HE Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
C/O Cynthia Veliko, Human Rights Advisor
UN Office of the Resident Coordinator
202-204, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7

Dear Madam,

We are extremely encouraged by your visit to Sri Lanka at the darkest hour of its history. At no time in their lives have the Tamils suffered so much of pain and humiliation. Ignored by the International Community and India, the Tamils are left to fend for themselves against Sinhalese oppression.

There was a time when the Tamils believed that these prisoners of war were alive. When Callum Macrae of Channel 4 produced tubes that showed the treatment meted out to these prisoners, the thought that they were alive dimmed. These people may have ceased to exist long ago.

Photos, above and below, from a Sri Lankan soldier’s cellphone, show prisoners at the end of the civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels.
LTTE cadres are taken in buses with their hands handcuffed to the bars. Their faces show that they know that they are going into an uncertain future

To kill these young people, most of them in their teens, one must have an extremely cruel heart. Velupillai Prabhaharan had been accused of being a terrorist. Has any Sinhalese girl accused a LTTE cadre of raping her? Has any Sinhalese prisoner of war accused the Tigers of killing Sinhalese prisoners. In fact released Sinhalese prisoners during the tsunami sent to the Tamil victims in the Tamil areas lorry loads of food stuffs, which the Sinhalese army conveniently diverted them to the Sinhalese victims of tsunami.

In addition to these young prisoners the higher ranks of the LTTE were taken into custody. There is no sign of their fate. Mrs Ananthi Sasitharan, the wife of Ezhilan, the former Trincomalee Political Head of the LTTE and a mother of three girls, had been searching for her husband the past four years. Now she is championing for the war widows. She wants to meet your excellency, and I hope she succeeds.

There are again thousands of innocent Tamil civilians incarcerated in jails for more than 10 years without trial. No legal process can ever get them released. Only an external organisation, like the UN, can bring them freedom. For these reasons an independent International Investigation is necessary.

The 120 million Tamils the world over besiege your Excellency to set up a committee to investigate the damage done to the Tamils during the 'War without Witness'. This should eventually lead to International Investigation into War Crimes. Thanks.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamil Activist



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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.