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AMA Press Release about missing Tamil doctors

June 12, 2009

AMA

AMA (NSW) has voiced concern for the safety and wellbeing of three doctors missing in Sri Lanka since Friday 15 May 2009. In a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith MP, AMA (NSW) President Dr Brian Morton called on the Australian Government to demand the Sri Lankan Government account for the missing doctors.

Dr Thangamuttu Sathiyamoorthy, Regional Director of health services in Kilinochchi, Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, Regional Director of health services in Mullaitivu and Dr V. Shanmugarajah, were employed by the Sri Lankan Government to treat sick and wounded civilians trapped in the conflict zone and continued to do so in makeshift facilities even after shelling and bombardment attacks.

The doctors had reported on conditions in the conflict zone, banned to journalists. Amnesty International has received reports doctors V.
Shanmugarajah and T. Sathiyamoorthy may currently be held at the Terrorist Investigation Division in Colombo and Dr Varatharajah has been seriously injured.  The doctors’ families remain unsure of their whereabouts and do not have access to a lawyer.

“Despite the doctors’ heroic efforts to help thousands of displaced civilians amid ongoing threats to their own personal safety, it is now widely feared they  may be held prisoner in reprisal for providing information about civilians in the conflict zone,” AMA (NSW) President, Dr Brian Morton said.

Media Contacts:
Andrea Kunz (02) 9439 8822/ 0407 776 581
Tanzeem Parkar (02) 9439 8822/ 0419 402 955

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