SRI LANKA: Young man severely tortured by Kandy Police
Posted on June 12th, 2017

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Dear Friends,

According to the information the Asian Human Rights Commission has received, a man was illegally arrested, detained and tortured by police officers attached to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. Lahiru Perera was first questioned about an abandoned mobile phone which he picked from the roadside at the Kandy Town one year ago. He explained all that he knew about it genuinely. He very clearly stated that he was not involved in any crime. However, after severely torturing the victim, the police forced him to sign several documents, which they later used to file fabricated charges against him before the Kandy Magistrate’s Court.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Lahiru was a student at St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy until 2013. After leaving school, he followed a course in welding. His father is a 52-year-old laborer, and his mother is a 40-year-old housewife. He has one elder sister and two younger brothers.

One evening during 2016, while returning from a friend’s place down the Hanthana Road in Kandy Town, Lahiru saw an abandoned mobile phone on the roadside. When he picked it up and checked it, he understood that it was broken and dysfunctional. So he repaired it by himself and used it for roughly around eight months, before selling it to a friend known as Samaree”.

Once the phone was sold, Lahiru had no connection to it until he was contacted by the said friend (Samaree) on 9 March 2017, informing him to come to the Kandy Crime Investigation Division of the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. He went to the police station around 6:30 p.m. on the same day, and was questioned by a number of police officers and then his fingerprints were taken. The questions were regarding where and when he found the mobile phone, to which he answered truthfully.

After questioning, he was taken upstairs by the police officers, where they continued to question him. The questioning turned to torture when a police officer took a wooden pole and hit Lahiru on his neck, which according to Lahiru, numbed his whole body. He was hit severely with that pole around 10 times. He was also slapped across his ears several times. In addition to this, wires and wooden strips were used to hit and torture Lahiru. During the torture, Lahiru was handcuffed with his hands tied behind his back. The torture went on until 3:00 a.m. the following morning, and at the end he was forced to sign some documents by the officers. He did not know what the documents were for, but the pain of torture forced him to sign. Lahiru clearly states that the documents were not recorded from him, and the police officers who forced him to sign did not explain the contents.

Lahiru was also photographed during the investigation, and was told by the police officers that the photo will be sent to the original owner of the phone, who is a doctor from the Peradeniya Hospital.

Lahiru was brought back to the ground floor at around 3:30 a.m., where he was held in the lock up until 12:30 p.m. the next day, March 10.

Then he was prepared for an identification parade, and was taken to the Kandy Magistrate’s Court. The identification parade was not held that day however, and Lahiru was not given bail either; instead, he was remanded at Bogambara Dumbara Prison.

He was in remand prison for around 10 days. While in remand, on March 20 he was taken to the magistrate’s court and the complainant was asked to come forth for an identification parade; during which the complainant immediately identified Lahiru to be the thief as he was already in possession of the photo taken by the police earlier.

Lahiru managed to inform the magistrate how his photo was taken during investigations, and was sent over to the doctor. The magistrate took note of this in the open courts.

Lahiru was granted bail on that same day, March 20, but could not be released immediately because his family could not immediately fulfill the bail requirements.

According to Lahiru, he has been charged with assault and theft by the police and that was the case presented to the magistrate. He states that he was charged with fabricated charges by the police. He is now released on bail and his case number is B/39646/16 and is scheduled to be heard on 24 July 2017.

Lahiru has no knowledge of the original incident where the doctor was assaulted and robbed. He is unaware of the fact that the telephone was stolen by somebody. When he was questioned, he genuinely explained everything that he knew. Lahiru denies all the charges made against him, and claims that he was made to accept the charges because he was forced to sign documents by the police officers after his torture. He feels that the identification parade was also not held on fair grounds as his photo was sent to the doctor in advance. He seeks justice.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please send letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Request an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, detention, torture and the filing of fabricated charges by the Police. Those proven to be responsible under criminal law for misusing the powers of the State should be prosecuted. All officers involved must be scrutinized by an internal investigation for breach of Police Departmental Orders. Finally, please appeal to the National Police Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police for a special investigation into the malpractice of police officers who abuse their powers.

Please note that the AHRC has also written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in this regard.

To support this case, please click here:

 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________,

SRI LANKA: Young man was severely tortured by the Kandy Police

Name of Victims: Dasanayake Mudiyanselage Lahiru Dilshan Perera (18) of No: 50/5A, Pushpadana Mawatha, Bairawakanda in the Kandy District
Alleged perpetrators: OIC and the officers attached to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station
Date of incident: 9 March 2017
Place of incident: Kandy Headquarters Police Division

According to the information I have received Lahiru was a student at St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy until 2013. After leaving school, he followed a course in welding. His father is a 52-year-old laborer, and his mother is a 40-year-old housewife. He has one elder sister and two younger brothers.

One evening during 2016, while returning from a friend’s place down the Hanthana Road in Kandy Town, Lahiru saw an abandoned mobile phone on the roadside. When he picked it up and checked it, he understood that it was broken and dysfunctional. So he repaired it by himself and used it for roughly around eight months, before selling it to a friend known as Samaree”.

Once the phone was sold, Lahiru had no connection to it until he was contacted by the said friend (Samaree) on 9 March 2017, informing him to come to the Kandy Crime Investigation Division of the Kandy Headquarters Police Station. He went to the police station around 6:30 p.m. on the same day, and was questioned by a number of police officers and then his fingerprints were taken. The questions were regarding where and when he found the mobile phone, to which he answered truthfully.

After questioning, he was taken upstairs by the police officers, where they continued to question him. The questioning turned to torture when a police officer took a wooden pole and hit Lahiru on his neck, which according to Lahiru, numbed his whole body. He was hit severely with that pole around 10 times. He was also slapped across his ears several times. In addition to this, wires and wooden strips were used to hit and torture Lahiru. During the torture, Lahiru was handcuffed with his hands tied behind his back. The torture went on until 3:00 a.m. the following morning, and at the end he was forced to sign some documents by the officers. He did not know what the documents were for, but the pain of torture forced him to sign. Lahiru clearly states that the documents were not recorded from him, and the police officers who forced him to sign did not explain the contents.

Lahiru was also photographed during the investigation, and was told by the police officers that the photo will be sent to the original owner of the phone, who is a doctor from the Peradeniya Hospital.

Lahiru was brought back to the ground floor at around 3:30 a.m., where he was held in the lock up until 12:30 p.m. the next day, March 10.

Then he was prepared for an identification parade, and was taken to the Kandy Magistrate’s Court. The identification parade was not held that day however, and Lahiru was not given bail either; instead, he was remanded at Bogambara Dumbara Prison.

He was in remand prison for around 10 days. While in remand, on March 20 he was taken to the magistrate’s court and the complainant was asked to come forth for an identification parade; during which the complainant immediately identified Lahiru to be the thief as he was already in possession of the photo taken by the police earlier.

Lahiru managed to inform the magistrate how his photo was taken during investigations, and was sent over to the doctor. The magistrate took note of this in the open courts.

Lahiru was granted bail on that same day, March 20, but could not be released immediately because his family could not immediately fulfill the bail requirements.

According to Lahiru, he has been charged with assault and theft by the police and that was the case presented to the magistrate. He states that he was charged with fabricated charges by the police. He is now released on bail and his case number is B/39646/16 and is scheduled to be heard on 24 July 2017.

Lahiru has no knowledge of the original incident where the doctor was assaulted and robbed. He is unaware of the fact that the telephone was stolen by somebody. When he was questioned, he genuinely explained everything that he knew. Lahiru denies all the charges made against him, and claims that he was made to accept the charges because he was forced to sign documents by the police officers after his torture. He feels that the identification parade was also not held on fair grounds as his photo was sent to the doctor in advance. He seeks justice.

I request the intervention of your good offices to ensure that an immediate investigation is conducted into the allegations of torture and the filing of false charges against Lahiru. All officers involved should be subject to an internal investigation for breach of Police Departmental Orders.

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])

One Response to “SRI LANKA: Young man severely tortured by Kandy Police”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Since the colonials left our standards have gone down to gutter levels.

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