150 raped by law enforcers last year, say rights groups

Place: Tamil Eelam | Courtesy: South China Morning Post
| Date: 19970111


Human rights activists claim more than 150 women, mostly minority Tamils, were raped by police and armed forces personnel last year.

In the past few months the nation has been outraged by a series of sex offences, followed in some instances by the death or disappearance of victims. Security forces are allegedly behind the incidents, which are widespread in the war-ravaged north and east.

Rights groups and mainstream Tamil political parties are now up in arms over the alleged rape of five women by policemen in Colombo's suburbs.

Politicians and rights agencies have made repeated demands for investigations of the large numbers of rapes allegedly committed by officials entrusted with enforcing law and order.

In one of the suburban rape cases, the victim, from the eastern Batticaloa district, had approached a reserve police constable for directions to a relative's home in Colombo.

The policeman accompanied the woman to her destination but then raped her ina lonely suburban thicket.

At least 15 soldiers and policemen have been accused of rape since June last year.

In June, a 45-year-old woman, accused of pushing drugs, was gang-raped in a police cell. Her lawyers claimed the victim could not pick out her assailants as they were not in the identification parade. An angry magistrate lambasted the policemen dealing with the case for being "inefficient, inactive and attempting to cover up for their bestial brother officers".

In the same month, two navy officers were held for raping a woman.

In August, a young police officer was sentenced to 17 years' jail for raping a 17-year-old female student.