Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Life in Detention 'Longer than with LTTE'

by BBC Sinhala, September 13, 2010

Government official figures say that only 2936 suspected Tamil Tigers were released so far by the Sri Lankan authorities out of 12,334 arrested during the last phase of the military conflict.

Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka (file photo)
Over 12,000 former Tamil Tigers were detained by the Sri Lanka authorities after the war

Some former members of the LTTE say they are being detained by the Sri Lankan government for a time longer than they were with Tamil Tigers.

Nearly 10,000 suspected Tamil Tigers are held in detention camps in the north.

Government official figures say that only 2936 suspected Tamil Tigers were released so far by the Sri Lankan authorities out of 12,334 arrested during the last phase of the military conflict.

"I have been with the LTTE for only one year but I have been in detention for 15 months," a detainee told BBC Sandeshaya.

Some detainees have completed vocational training courses at the detention centres but are still awaiting their release.

'Painful'

Detainees at Rehabilitation Centres in Vavuniya told journalist Dinasena Rathugamage that they are expecting the release of another batch soon and expressed hope that they will be among the released.

Detainees undergoing training courses in Sri Lanka
Some have undergone vocational traning courses

"We are only calling for our release," a detainee said.

"We are told that we will be released but don't know when," another said.

While a section of the group who were part of the same struggle are being released, it is painful that many others are still being kept, they told the BBC.

"Why can't we get the same opportunity that Daya master got?" asked a female detainee.

LTTE media spokesman Velayutham Thayanithi widely known as Daya Master was released on bail two months after he was detained by the military in May 2009.

The government says that legal action will be taken against those not released.

However, those in detention are yet to be produced before courts.