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Toronto torture victim takes Sri Lanka to UN rights body

A Toronto Tamil man who was detained and tortured in Sri Lankan jails for three years is taking his case to the United Nations.

STEVE RUSSELL / TORONTO STAR Order this photo Tamil Canadian Roy Samathanam, 43, is filing a complaint against the Sri Lankan government before the UN Human Rights Committee for torture. He was detained for three years from 2007 to 2010. He still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Wed Nov 13 2013 A Toronto man who was detained and tortured in Sri Lankan jails for three years is taking his case to the United Nations, accusing Sri Lankan authorities of violating international human rights laws.

Roy Samathanam,

, who has !een a "anadian citi#en since

$%%&, was arrested !y the Sri Lankan Terrorist 'nvestigation (ivision )T'(* in +,,while visiting his homeland. .e says he was handcuffed and !lindfolded after failing to /rovide a !ri!e demanded !y officers, while his /regnant wife and daughter were /laced under house arrest. Samathanam was ultimately released in August +,$,. .e claims he was coerced into /leading guilty to what he descri!es as a trum/ed0u/ charge of /ossessing a 12S device. Samathanam says he has since suffered de/ression and /ost0traumatic stress disorder. 3n 4ednesday, with the hel/ of the 3ttawa0!ased "anadian "entre for 'nternational 5ustice, Samathanam will file an official com/laint to the UN .uman Rights "ommittee to demand remedy and com/ensation from the Sri Lankan government for torture and other violations of his rights. ' was ke/t there, tortured. And they tried to force a confession from me. They also threatened to ra/e my wife and kill my child,6 said Samathanam, who returned to "anada in early +,$$ and has since lived on assistance from the 3ntario (isa!ility Su//ort 2rogram. ' am doing this for me and for others who have !een tortured and are still detained in jails in Sri Lanka. ' want those officials who tortured me to !e tried in the court of law and face justice.6 S/ecifically, Samathanam is demanding that criminal charges !e laid against a Sgt. A!deen, a unit commander at the T'( detention facility near "olom!o .ar!our, and the centre7s 3fficer in "harge, 2rasanna de Alwis. 8orn in "olom!o, Samathanam said he grew u/ under discrimination and /ersecution as an ethnic Tamil. .e fled to "anada as a refugee in $%%,, when he was $9. 'n +,,:, he visited Sri Lanka to get married !ut decided to remain there when his wife !ecame /regnant. .e said officers wielding machine guns arrived at his home on Se/t. $ , +,,-, ;on the /retense6 that he7d !roken the law !y hel/ing to im/ort goods for a friend7s electronics sho/. (enounced as a ;"anadian Tiger,6 he was accused of o/erating the intelligence wing of the Li!eration Tigers of Tamil <elam and o!taining the 12S for the militant grou/. Samathanam was detained at three se/arate facilities= the "olom!o .ar!our, 8oosa (etention "entre in 1alle, and 4elikada 2rison. .e said he was !eaten regularly and denied medications for his dia!etes and chest /ains. >att <isen!randt, legal director of the "anadian "entre for 'nternational 5ustice, said Samathanam7s e?/erience of torture and im/risonment has to !e /laced into the historical conte?t of o//ression and /ersecution of ethnic Tamils since Sri Lanka gained inde/endence from 8ritain in $% 9 and came under the rule of the Sinhalese majority. .uman rights grou/s and the international community have long condemned the Sri Lankan government7s military and /olicing o/erations targeting Tamils. (uring the final stages of the civil war in +,,%, thousands of Tamils were killed. This )com/laint* is significant on the individual level for Roy. 't gives him a chance to /ursue justice against Sri Lanka for the torture and detention he suffered,6 <isen!randt said. 4e are trying to get action from an international !ody to hold those res/onsi!le for

the torture accounta!le.6