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‘My state of mind is broken’

November 8, 2017
A man known as Witness 202 reveals branding marks on his back during an interview in London, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Memories of his rape and torture last year have prompted him to speak out. Like many of the men, he was accused of trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A man known as Witness 202 reveals branding marks on his back during an interview in London, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Memories of his rape and torture last year have prompted him to speak out. Like many of the men, he was accused of trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group. (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:

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    Questions about his rape and torture inside a Sri Lankan detention compound extinguish any flicker of light from the dark brown eyes of the man now known as Witness #202.

    The 29-year-old hangs his head in shame, his voice goes quiet.

    “The sexual abuse started from the first day,” he said.

    He joined the Tigers in 2004 but after the war ended left for Dubai. He was abducted shortly after returning to Sri Lanka to check on his ailing mother.

    “When I wasn’t being beaten on the soles of my feet, they were forcing me to touch them and to take them in my mouth,” he said looking down.

    Now, he is living with his cousin in England and awaiting asylum.

    “I know I am safe here but I just feel blocked mentally. I can’t sleep, and I know that my state of mind is broken. I want the world to know about this because these types of violations are still happening and they are hidden from the world,” he said.

 

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