Roy Samathanam, the Sri Lankan Canadian who’s suing former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for compensation for alleged torture, says he hopes other victims like him can get justice.
In a new press release the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), gives more details about the case.
ITJP in partnership with the international law firm Hausfeld and human rights lawyer Scott Gilmore, have filed a civil action in California against Rajapaksa.
Samathanam made the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Rajapaksa, a dual US Sri Lankan citizen.
The case was brought under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which gives torture victims legal redress in US courts the press release added.
According to the ITJP Samathanam, was arrested on false charges in Colombo in September 2007 by police who reported directly to Rajapaksa at the time. Visiting Sri Lanka to marry his wife, Samathanam was detained for three years and repeatedly denied access to a lawyer or a judge.
Under Mr Rajapaksa’s command, guards tortured Mr Samathanam, threatened to rape and kill his wife and child, and made him watch the electrocution of other prisoners. He was forced to sign a false confession before being released in August 2010 on a plea deal.
Since his release, Samathanam has been an outspoken, testifying before the Canadian Parliament of Canada. In 2016, he won a UN Human Rights Committee
case, but Sri Lanka has failed to abide by the compensation ruling.
“While I was in prison I learned what inhumanity looks like,” said plaintiff Roy Samathanam. “So far, there has been no accountability, so I am happy to take this first step to get justice. This action will give torture victims in Sri Lanka hope for the future.”
Samathanam was “one of countless civilians detained and tortured in Sri Lanka because of their ethnic Tamil identity,” said human rights lawyer Scott Gilmore.
He is the lawyer who led the successful compensation case brought by the family of Sunday Times journalist, Marie Colvin, against the Government of Syria.