Tamils heavily victimised at Colombo airport

(January 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) With the heavy presence of the intelligence officers at the Katunayake International Airport in Colombo, Tamils travelling from overseas are being systematically targeted and put through extensive interrogative processes for several hours.

According to latest information, Tamil passengers of both inbound and outgoing flights are being targeted by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID).

Those who escape the rope whilst entering are being nicked at the point of exit.

According to information, the TID officials armed with airline passenger lists single out individuals and take them into custody. Some of them are held at the airport for several hours and interrogated whilst some are taken away in unmarked white vans to unknown destinations.

The TID also makes inquiries on those who have been allowed to enter and nick them at the point of their exit from the country based on information gathered.

Persons having links to Tamil nationalist politics or connected to the LTTE are even stopped at the point of departure. This is done by putting the person in the immigration database as a wanted person and when the person reaches the immigration desk for clearance the TID will be invited to arrest the person.

In order to justify the arrest, bogus and anonymous letters are also being produced to stop the person at immigration exit point.

Those who undergo lengthy interviews at the airport have experienced untold hardships. Whilst the interview is underway, the information provided by the arrested person are passed to the intelligence flying squads who will go around and interview the parties mentioned in the interview including to confirm the stories.

According to airport sources, some of those taken in unmarked vehicles are taken to unknown places and their fate is not known unless they are released.

Following the failed visit of the President Mahinda Rajapakse to the UK, the arrests of Tamils from London has increased.

The arrests of outbound passengers result in victims undergoing untold hardships on release to reorganise the travel again incurring unnecessary costs.

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