ABC 7:30 Report – against Sri Lanka

A letter sent to the ABC

Heather Ewart’s 7.30 report on Sri Lanka

Your broadcast of Torture Claims in Sri Lanka on Wednesday 24 April raises some pertinent and disturbing questions.

There was a similar report some weeks ago by the SBS featuring a person by the name of Kumar and claiming similar injuries through torture in Sri Lanka. Is this the same person and the same incident?
If Kumar left Sri Lanka in 2008 as he felt unsafe there why then did he not fear returning to Sri Lanka in March this year?
His passport shows he transited from Malaysia to Sri Lanka on 29 December 2010. How is it that he did not encounter “Army Intelligence” on that visit?
The report says he went to help his uncle. His uncle is apparently a person of some means who could put up a bribe of $20 000. Why did he need Kumar to come all the way from Australia to help him?
How did his uncle know that Kumar was abducted and the location of his incarceration?
What happened to Kumar’s brothers? Why did the “Army intelligence” ignore them if they were witness to a  clandestine operation?
The scars of wounds on his back are not deep flesh wounds and appear to have been made by design and not random. Where and when did he get treated for the wounds?
There is no “Gambar” province in Sri Lanka.
Kumar claims he arrived in Sri Lanka on 30 March this year. When did this incident happen? For how long was he in custody if he returned to Australia “two weeks ago”?
Who was the doctor who referred Kumar for psychiatric assessment? Why was she not interviewed instead of Louise Newman?
On what basis was the re-enactment of Kumar’s abduction filmed down to the detail of coir rope to tie him? It seems this is a film supplied by someone else to the reporter. Can the ABC vouch for the authenticity of this re-enactment?
Getting the comments of Gordon Weiss smells of an unabashed attempt by the reporter to buttress unverified claims of torture by Kumar.
Weiss, during his tenure as a UN employee during the closing stages of the conflict, together with his cohorts, did absolutely nothing to protect the hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians being dragged from one end of the country to the battle zone and used as human shields. He emerged later from his bunker to claim atrocities and war crimes in numbers he could not and would not substantiate. These figures ranged from 10,000 to 100,000. Fanciful enough to fill the pages of his book, to make a nice little earner.
If this story has any substance surely it is not beyond the resources of the Tamil Refugee Council and other refugee do-gooders to take up the High Commissioner’s challenge and present this case before him in the presence of legal representatives for proper investigation instead of hiding behind claims that Kumar’s family will be “penalised” in Sri Lanka?
Otherwise this whole report smacks of nothing more than your reporter and the ABC being used by LTTE propagandists and the Australian Tamil Congress to stake a claim for back-door entry to Australia by Tamil asylum seekers and make a mockery of our immigration and border protection procedures.
Make no mistake, Kumar’s work visa is about to expire. This is a nice story to obtain asylum seeker and permanent resident status.
George Rupesinghe

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