|Amnesty International appeals for 82-year old ransom
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from
The Nobel Peace prize winning human rights organization has alleged that the old man had been kidnapped and is being held at the LTTE camp in Padirippu in the Eastern province to extort money from his family.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, parties to the MoU should abstain from hostile acts against the civilian population.
Amnesty International has brought the human rights violation by the terrorist group to the attention of Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission headed by Norway but the old man taken hostage over a month ago is yet to be released from the captivity of the Tamil terrorists.
A release by the Amnesty International said the organization was concerned for the safety of K. V. Sithamparapillai from Bar Road, Thamaraikerny in the Batticaloa District who is continued to be held in captivity in a LTTE camp in Padirippu from April 26, now over a month.
The 82-year old man visited the camp to pay Rs. 300,000 (US$ 3100) which the terrorist group demanded from him as extortion money.
Amnesty International charges that the old man was prevented from returning home by the LTTE until his family paid them a further Rs. 2,200,000 (US $ 22,800), "of an amount originally demanded from him several weeks ago".
The Amnesty International said the 82-year old man was originally abducted on 16 April after he had refused to pay Rs. 500,000 and held for two days. Amnesty International said the terrorist group released him on condition the money would be paid, when a distant relative stood surety.
But when he took only 300,000 Rupees the terrorists took him as hostage for ransom and the family had been informed that he would be held until the rest of the money was paid.
The Amnesty International also reminded that the taking of hostages, for ransom or otherwise was prohibited under common article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions.
The human rights group has made a worldwide appeal to express the concern for the safety of the old man, to express concern that his captivity was a violation of the MoU and demand his immediate release.
Amnesty International said appeals should be sent to the following asking for his
immediate release: (1) Anton Balasingham. C/O Tamil Co-ordinating Committee-France, 341,
Rue de Pyrenees, 75920 Paris France (Fax: + 33 1 43 58 11 91) (2) World Tamil Movement,
64, Eaton Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4J2Z5, Canada and (3) Tamil Co-ordinating Committee,
Det tamilske Samordningsutvalget, Pb1699 Vika, 0110 Oslo, Norway (fax: +47 33 38 10 40)
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