Tamil men reportedly endure rape, torture in Sri Lankan prisons

Place: Sri Lanka | Courtesy: AFP
| Date: 20000625

PARIS (June 25, 2000 10:31 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - Sexual abuse of Tamil men in Sri Lankan jails is rampant, including rape, electric shocks to the genitals and forced sex acts with prison guards, according to a study published in Saturday's issue of The Lancet, the British medical weekly. S

The study was compiled by the London-based Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which assessed medical and legal reports by 17 doctors investigating allegations by 184 Tamil men.

Thirty-eight of them complained of sexual abuse, including severe forms of torture, by prison guards, it said.

"The common myth is that the guards, not being homosexual themselves, would not want to commit homosexual acts," the study said.

"However, the evidence suggests that the motivation for sexual assault of men is the demonstration of complete control over the victim, and that the perpetrators do not perceive themselves or their acts as homosexual."

The alleged victims were referred to the organization between January 1997 and December 1998.

"We believe that sexual abuse of Tamil men in detention is common in Sri Lanka. Although in this sample the proportion was 20 percent, the true number is probably higher as some will not have reported it," the authors said.

They called on the authorities in Sri Lanka, a signatory to the U.N. Convention against Torture, to take urgent action to stop the alleged practice.