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Covered with cigarette burns

November 8, 2017
A man known as Witness 205 speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, July 20, 2017. During his detention, he said he was beaten, water-boarded, hung upside down, burned with cigarette butts and raped. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A man known as Witness 205 speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, July 20, 2017. During his detention, he said he was beaten, water-boarded, hung upside down, burned with cigarette butts and raped. (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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The 22-year-old is covered in scars from cigarette burns, branding and other instruments he still shudders to talk about.

He was visiting his brother and his sister-in-law when men who identified themselves as members of the Central Investigation Department _ a unit that investigates serious crimes _ came and started accusing them of hiding a bomb in the house. He was taken from the house with his nephew and held 21 days.

He says he was raped 12 times by different men. He described one incident in which a man wearing jogging shorts came into his cell, and forced him to perform oral sex on him and then sodomized him.

“I still haven’t come out of this in my head,” Witness #205 said.

Like many of the men, a relative eventually got him out of the country with a fake Malaysian passport. From Colombo, he went to Thailand and then to Dubai. From there, he spent 13 days in France before coming to the UK.

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