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Barely able to speak

November 8, 2017
A man known as Witness 267 shows scars and marks on his chest during an interview in London, Thursday, July 27, 2017. He was one of the most recent victims, saying he was raped and burned with more than 60 times with cigarette burns during his detention this year. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A man known as Witness 267 shows scars and marks on his chest during an interview in London, Thursday, July 27, 2017. He was one of the most recent victims, saying he was raped and burned with more than 60 times with cigarette burns during his detention this year. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

More than 50 Tamil men seeking political asylum in Europe have come forward to say they were raped, branded and beaten repeatedly by Sri Lanka’s current security forces.

The strangers say they were accused of trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group, which the government fought in a bloody 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. They said the abuse occurred from early 2016 to mid-2017.

Sri Lanka has denied the allegations.

The men allowed The Associated Press to have their extensive scars on their legs, faces, chests and groins photographed in July and August. Here are some of their stories:

He arrived recently, broken and barely able to speak.

The scars on his thighs, however, said it all. He showed an AP photographer his thighs that he said were marked with more than 60 cigarette burns _ one of many punishments he endured during his detention this year.

The 19-year-old, known as witness #267, said he was also repeatedly raped but trembles when asked questions.

“I can’t,” he said, bowing his head. “I’m not anywhere near through this.”

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