Sri Lankan, Mistaken As American, Faces Terror In Iraq

Day after day, locked in a cement room somewhere in Iraq, the hooded men beat him. They told him he would be beheaded. “Ameriqi!” they shouted, even though he comes from this poor Sri Lankan fishing village. Day after day, locked in a cement room somewhere in Iraq, the hooded men beat him. They told him he would be beheaded. “Ameriqi!” they shouted, even though he comes from this poor Sri Lankan fishing village. The virulently anti-American militants were convinced truck driver Denesh Dharmendra Rajaratnam was something he isn’t: an American.

“Two men wearing black beat us with wires and poles and asked if I was a black American,” said Rajaratnam, who made it home Sunday after 46 days as a hostage in Iraq. “I told them I was Sri Lankan, but they didn’t believe me and hit me harder.”

He wasn’t the only captive. A fellow truck driver, a Bangladeshi, was kidnapped with him. Three Iraqis and two Egyptians later joined them. All were severely beaten – and most were eventually killed, he said.

“We were unfed and without water,” Rajaratnam, 37, said in his wood, tin-roofed home outside Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. “I wasn’t sure how many days it went on since I didn’t know the difference b