GENEVA, Oct 30, 2007 (AFP) – The UN’s top torture expert, Manfred Nowak, said on Tuesday that torture — including beatings, asphyxiation and burning — was becoming “routine” during counter-terrorism operations in Sri Lanka. Violence has surged on the island since a Norwegian-arranged truce began unravelling in December 2005.
Nowak said in statement on his mission to the conflict-torn Indian Ocean island earlier this month that there was evidence that “torture is widely practiced in Sri Lanka.”
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture highlighted the “high number” of torture indictments filed by the Attorney General’s office, the number of case rulings by the supreme court and “almost daily” complaints about torture to the National Human Rights Commission.
“Moreover, I observe that this practice is prone to become routine in the context of counter-terrorism operations, in particular by the TID (Terrorism Investigation Department),” Nowak added.
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During visits to prisons and police stations between October 1 and 8, Nowak said he had heard numerous “consistent and credible” allegations from detainees who were tortured to extract confesssions or information.
The methods listed by the UN rights expert included