By our correspondent, wsws.org, 6 January 2011Recently the World Socialist Web Site spoke to a number of Tamil prisoners released from various detention centres as well as the relatives of detainees still held in camps run by the Sri Lankan military. They not only described the oppressive conditions inside the camps, but insisted that their detention was a violation of basic legal and democratic rights.
Following the collapse of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, the military herded around 280,000 Tamil civilians—men, women and children—into huge “welfare villages”, which were surrounded by barbed wire and armed soldiers and run as virtual prisons. Anyone accused of being an “LTTE suspect” was held separately in undisclosed locations. The numbers grew to about 12,000 as military intelligence officers interrogated young men and women in the detention camps and dragged more “LTTE suspects” off to its secret prisons. The purpose was to intimidate and silence any opposition or dissent.