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TWO SEPARATE CASES OF POLICE TORTURE

AHRC Urgent Appeals desk- Two separate torture cases of two young boys aged 15 and 17 by the police

SRI LANKA: Widespread practice of torture; cruel and inhumane treatment and torture by the police
- Name of the victims: Anuruddha Kusum Kumara (15) and Bambarende Gamage Suraj Prasanna (17)
- Perpetrators: Officers of Wellawa police station and Matugama police station


CASES DETAILS

Case 1: Cruel and inhumane treatment to a 15-year-old student

Anuruddha Kusum Kumara, 15, residing at the village by the name Thombuwa, Kumbukgate of the Wellawa police division of the Kurunegala District, was asked to present himself at the Wellawa police station by 10:00 in the morning of 29th December 2002. He then went to the police station accompanied by his uncle and father.

On arrival, the Inspector of the Crimes Section, who was wearing civvies, chased the father beyond the railroad, hit Anuruddha Kusum Kumara in front of his uncle, stripped him naked and ordered him to the detention cells. Then inside the cell, he was beaten up with the back of a stem of a coconut branch till it was broken into pieces. Then a steel spike was drilled into his buttocks, which were then filled with chili powder and while he was yelling in pain the Inspector of the Crimes Section closed door of the cell, called the uncle and ordered him to bring the mother of the Anuruddha Kusum Kumara to the police station.

The boy was then handed over to be taken home. It was around 6:00 in the afternoon. In the same night, Anuruddha Kusum Kumara, who by then was seriously injured, was taken and admitted to the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital. He was warded there and received treatment from Jan. 1, 2003 to Jan. 3, 2003. A statement has been recorded by the hospital police. It is also understood that the judicial medical officer has conducted the diagnosis of Anuruddha Kusum Kumara.


Case 2: Serious torture and threat to the life of a 17-year-old young man

Sub-inspector Romiyal of the Matugama police station together with another officer entered the house of Bambarende Gamage Suraj Prasanna and arrested him on Jan. 8, 2003 at about 1:00 in the afternoon. Sub-inspector Romiyal then began hitting the victim in the face and asking him whether he was the one that stole the money from the temple till.

The police officer then removed the tee-shirt that Bambarende Gamage Suraj Prasanna was wearing to tie his hands at the back, drag him along the road while beating him and then dumping him in the Dolphine van bearing number 56-5183 and took him to the Matugama police station. After putting him in the cell, the Sub-inspector got hold of the victim's hair and beat his face against the iron bars of the cell. A number of other officers took turns to hit his face against the iron bars in the cell by holding him with his hair. About 4:00 in the afternoon Bambarende Gamage Suraj Prasanna was taken out of the cell and was made to crawl on his knees for fifteen minutes. While crawling on his knees, he was beaten by Sub-inspector Romiyal with his fists and boots and was asked to kneel and worship the other police officers by holding their feet.

After meting out this torture, he was released at about 4:30 in the afternoon with the strict warning that he return home only after dusk or otherwise he would be killed. Through fear, he absconded himself near a shop till about 8:00 at night and then returned home to narrate the whole incident and got himself admitted to the Wattawe government hospital. After receiving treatment from the hospital till Jan. 10, 2003, he got himself admitted to the Nagoda General Hospital where he continues to receive treatment to this day.


SUGGESTED ACTION

Please send your urgent appeals to the Prime Minister, Chairman of the National Police Commission, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Sri Lanka, urging them to take prompt investigations into these cases and to punish the perpetrators.


SUGGESTED LETTER (You may use your own words or use the following as a sample)

Dear,

Re: Torture of two young boys aged 15 and 17 in two separate incidents; Complaints against the officers of Wellawa police station and Matugama police station

I am so shocked to learn about the torture of Anuruddha Kusum Kumara (15), residing at the village by the name of Thombuwa, Kumbukgate of the Wellawa police division of the Kurunegala District on Dec. 29, 2002 and another separate torture case of Bambarende Gamage Suraj Prasanna, residing at 'Amila', Katugahawatta, Owitigala, Matugama on Jan. 8, 2003.

Both incidents show a type of cruelty which is so difficult to understand. During the last few months, I have also been informed of several other cases of torture against even children by Sri Lankan police.

Despite so many complaints of torture, the practice of torture continues with impunity. Sri Lanka is a signatory of all human rights conventions including the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, laws such as Act No 22 of 1994 in your country, which makes torture a crime punishable with serious consequences, remain only in the book. Merciless torture of the young for no reason at all makes a mockery of any claim for the rule of law.

I strongly urge you to take serious actions on these two cases as well as the whole issue of routine practice of torture at Sri Lankan police stations.

I look forward to hearing of your intervention in these matters.

Thank you.


Sincerely yours,

---------


PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Honorable Prime Minister
Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe
Cambridge Place
Colombo 7
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 1 682905
Email:  secpm@sltnet.lk or  bradmanw@slt.lk
SALUTATION: Hon. Prime Minister

2. Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya PC
Chairman
National Police Commission
No. 4, Shavasthi Place,
Colombo 7
SRI LANKA
SALUTATION: Dear Commissioner

3. Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan
Attorney General
Attorney - General's Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 1 436 421
Email:  attorney@sri.lanka.net | or |  counsel@sri.lanka.net
SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

4. Mr. T. E. Anandrajah
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
New Secretariat
Colombo 1,
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 1 446174
SALUTATION: Dear Inspector General of Police

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