'I would have been killed'' ... Premakumar Gunaratnam with his wife and children in a family photo taken last year. Photo: Kate Geraghty
THE Australian man abducted in Sri Lanka over the weekend has contradicted the claims of the Colombo government, claiming it abducted him, and, were it not for Canberra's intervention, he would have faced certain death.
Premakumar Gunaratnam, a 42-year-old Sri Lankan left-wing politician who moved to Australia in 2006, held a press conference at his house in Sydney's north this afternoon, after leaving Sri Lanka yesterday.
He said that he was handcuffed, blindfolded and physically and sexually tortured during his three-day detention.
"I have no doubt that if I didn't have the Australian government's support I would have been killed just like my brother and hundreds of other political activists and journalists have been killed," Mr Gunaratnam said at his Dural home about 2.30pm.
His claims will put pressure on the Sri Lankan government, which at first said it was unaware of Mr Gunaratnam's presence in the country, and once he was located stated categorically that it had played no role in his disappearance.
"The Sri Lankan authorities never arrested that person," the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Canberra, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
Disputing that contention, Mr Gunaratnam said: "I can confirm I was abducted by the Sri Lankan government forces, blindfolded and tortured. This includes, I am embarrassed to say, sexual torture."
He called on the international community to acknowledge what he says are ongoing human rights violations in Sri Lanka being committed by the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
"If everyone ignores the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, then the Rajapaksa regime will continue the dictatorial regime, abducting and killing people who speak out," he said.
"The free-thinking world should take a stance against [these] gross human rights violations."
Comment is being sought from the Sri Lankan government.