SRI LANKA: Police harass entire family for complaining to DIG
Posted on July 12th, 2016

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-083-2016

ISSUES: illegal arrest; detention; impunity; rule of law; justice
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Mrs. Maladeniyegedara Padma Irangani and her two sisters were all illegally arrested by the Katugastota police officers, in revenge for Padma complaining and seeking justice from the Deputy Inspector General of Kandy. After Padma complained about her husband’s illegal arrest, Padma and her two sisters were also arrested. This case illustrates the breakdown of the policing institution and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Mrs. Maladeniyegedara Padma Irangani (50) of No.104/1/B, Gohagoda Road, Katugastota in Kandy District was unlawfully arrested by police officers attached to the Katugastota Police Station.

Padma is married to Mr. B A Thilakaratne and they have a son aged five years. Padma works as a traffic warden at KCC, and her husband is a small businessman.

On March 23, there had been a dispute between Padma’s two brothers Laxman and Indika Gunawardena and their neighbours. Padma’s brothers were injured during the dispute, and were later admitted for medical treatment at the Kandy Teaching Hospital, Ward No. 17.

Neither Padma nor her husband were involved in the fight, and nor were they present at that time. However, on March 27, Padma’s husband was arrested at his residence at 104/1/B, Gohagoda Road by the Katugastota police officers, and brought to the Katugastota Police Station.

After Thilakaratne was arrested without any legal basis, Padma went to the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at Kandy and made a complaint. She requested an impartial investigation into the incident and demanded justice for husband.

Thilakaratne was then produced before the Magistrate of Kandy on March 28 and released on bail with immediate effect. However, neither Thilakaratne nor Padma were aware about the charges filed against him by the police.

On April 7, Padma was summoned by the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Katugastota Police Station. When she entered the station, the officer on duty informed her to go to the office of the OIC (Miscellaneous Branch). When she approached the OIC of the Miscellaneous Branch and respectfully questioned the reason for her call, the OIC questioned her on her complaint to the DIG. Padma explained the illegality of her husband’s arrest, and stated that it is her right to make a complaint to higher ranking officers and seek justice on behalf of her innocent husband. Padma observed that the officer was angry that she had made a complaint to a senior officer, and she feared that he was trying to take revenge.

Then the officer told that she would also be arrested and produced in court. Padma vehemently opposed such an attempt and repeatedly explained to the officer her innocence other than making a complaint to the DIG. Due to her explanations she was not arrested.

Then immediately she went to the DIG’s Office and made a complaint to the DIG regarding the attempt of the Katugastota police officers. In front of her, the DIG then called the Katugastota Police and warned them not to violate the rights of the victim.

After she left the DIG’s Office, she again received a message from the Katugastota Police Station summoning her at 2 p.m. of the same day. She was told that her statement was to be recorded.
Padma duly reported to the station, where she was kept waiting for several hours, before being told to come again the next day. Then Padma understood that she was being harassed for appealing to the DIG. Padma was further requested to come along with her two sisters and brothers.

When Padma went to the Katugastota Police Station on April 8, she was arrested along with her two sisters. At the time of arrest, they were not given any reason for their arrest. Then the officers produced them before the Magistrate of Kandy. She later learned the case which they were produced before the court was B/3282/16, but she still does not know the charges against her and her sisters. Then the Magistrate released all three on bail and postponed the case until 3 October 2016.

According to Padma, when her two brothers had their dispute with the neighbors, neither her nor her sisters were present. Her husband was also not there. None of them had anything to do with it, or had any other dispute. She claims that the police were biased and acted on the influence of the other party of the dispute.

Padma states that the fundamental rights of her, her husband Thilakaratne and her family members were violated by the police officers of Katugastota Police Station, and she demands justice.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, detention and filing fabricated charges by the police officers, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the orders of the department issued by the Police Department.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________,

SRI LANKA: Police harass entire family for complaining to DIG

Name of Victim: Mrs. Maladeniyegedara Padma Irangani (50) of No:104/1/B, Gohagoda Road, Katugastota in Kandy District
Alleged perpetrators: Officers attached to the Katugastota Police Station
Date of incident: 8 April 2016
Place of incident: Katugastota Police Division

According to the information I have received Mrs. Maladeniyegedara Padma Irangani (50) of No.104/1/B, Gohagoda Road, Katugastota in Kandy District was unlawfully arrested by police officers attached to the Katugastota Police Station.

Padma is married to Mr. B A Thilakaratne and they have a son aged five years. Padma works as a traffic warden at KCC, and her husband is a small businessman.

On March 23, there had been a dispute between Padma’s two brothers Laxman and Indika Gunawardena and their neighbours. Padma’s brothers were injured during the dispute, and were later admitted for medical treatment at the Kandy Teaching Hospital, Ward No. 17.

Neither Padma nor her husband were involved in the fight, and nor were they present at that time. However, on March 27, Padma’s husband was arrested at his residence at 104/1/B, Gohagoda Road by the Katugastota police officers, and brought to the Katugastota Police Station.

After Thilakaratne was arrested without any legal basis, Padma went to the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at Kandy and made a complaint. She requested an impartial investigation into the incident and demanded justice for husband.

Thilakaratne was then produced before the Magistrate of Kandy on March 28 and released on bail with immediate effect. However, neither Thilakaratne nor Padma were aware about the charges filed against him by the police.

On April 7, Padma was summoned by the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Katugastota Police Station. When she entered the station, the officer on duty informed her to go to the office of the OIC (Miscellaneous Branch). When she approached the OIC of the Miscellaneous Branch and respectfully questioned the reason for her call, the OIC questioned her on her complaint to the DIG. Padma explained the illegality of her husband’s arrest, and stated that it is her right to make a complaint to higher ranking officers and seek justice on behalf of her innocent husband. Padma observed that the officer was angry that she had made a complaint to a senior officer, and she feared that he was trying to take revenge.

Then the officer told that she would also be arrested and produced in court. Padma vehemently opposed such an attempt and repeatedly explained to the officer her innocence other than making a complaint to the DIG. Due to her explanations she was not arrested.

Then immediately she went to the DIG’s Office and made a complaint to the DIG regarding the attempt of the Katugastota police officers. In front of her, the DIG then called the Katugastota Police and warned them not to violate the rights of the victim.

After she left the DIG’s Office, she again received a message from the Katugastota Police Station summoning her at 2 p.m. of the same day. She was told that her statement was to be recorded.
Padma duly reported to the station, where she was kept waiting for several hours, before being told to come again the next day. Then Padma understood that she was being harassed for appealing to the DIG. Padma was further requested to come along with her two sisters and brothers.

When Padma went to the Katugastota Police Station on April 8, she was arrested along with her two sisters. At the time of arrest, they were not given any reason for their arrest. Then the officers produced them before the Magistrate of Kandy. She later learned the case which they were produced before the court was B/3282/16, but she still does not know the charges against her and her sisters. Then the Magistrate released all three on bail and postponed the case until 3 October 2016.

According to Padma, when her two brothers had their dispute with the neighbors, neither her nor her sisters were present. Her husband was also not there. None of them had anything to do with it, or had any other dispute. She claims that the police were biased and acted on the influence of the other party of the dispute.

Padma states that the fundamental rights of her, her husband Thilakaratne and her family members were violated by the police officers of Katugastota Police Station, and she demands justice.

I request the intervention of your good offices to ensure that the authorities listed below instigate an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, detention and filing fabricated charges by the officers of the Katugastota Police Station. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the orders of the Police Department.

Yours sincerely,

———————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Pujith Jayasundara
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
E-mail: [email protected]

2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: [email protected]

3. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

4. Secretary
Human Rights Commission
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Colombo 8
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
E-mail: [email protected]

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission ([email protected])

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