US Accuses Government Of Arbitrary And Unlawful Killings
The United States has accused the government of being involved in arbitrary or unlawful killings last year.
According to the 2011 Global Human Rights report released by the State Department on Thursday, there were a number of reports that the government, its agents, or its paramilitary allies committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
However the report noted that reliable statistics on such killings were difficult to obtain because in the past complainants were killed and some families feared reprisals if they filed complaints.
Among these arbitrary or unlawful killings, there were increased reports of suspects detained by police or other security forces who died under questionable circumstances. “For example, on July 3, Neluwa Priyantha died in the custody of members of the Special Task Force (STF) while he was showing them a house where he hid weapons.
There were several instances in which police were held accountable for unlawful killings. On September 29, trishaw driver G.A. Gayan Rasanga was arrested in Dompe on theft charges and reportedly tortured to death by the police. A Criminal Investigations Department (CID) investigation into the incident resulted in the arrest of five police officers. The police were prosecuted, and the case continued in a magistrate’s court at year’s end,” the report said.
According to official accounts, security forces took some suspects to the scene of their alleged crimes and then shot and killed them while they allegedly were trying to escape, the report added.
The report also said that the overall number of extrajudicial killings decreased from the previous year.
Nevertheless, during the year, and particularly in the beginning of the year, unknown actors suspected of association with pro-government paramilitary groups committed killings and assaulted civilians.
These included the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, associated with former LTTE eastern commander and now Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, alias “Karuna,” as well as Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias “Pillaiyan,” in the east, and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), led by Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda, in Jaffna.
These and other pro-government paramilitary gangs and parties also were active in Mannar and Vavuniya, the report said.
“All of these groups endeavored to operate political organizations, some with more success than others, and there were persistent reports of close, ground-level ties between paramilitary groups and government security forces. Whereas these groups served more of a military function during the war, often working in coordination with security forces, during the year they increasingly took on the characteristics of criminal gangs as they sought to solidify their territory and revenue sources in the postwar environment,” the report said