SRI LANKA: Prisoner protests against continuous ill treatment by prison officials
Posted on July 4th, 2017

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the case of Mr. Thilanga Roshan Perera who is a prisoner in New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison, Kandy. According to Roshan, he is continuously tortured and treated inhumanly by the prison officials. Although he has complained on several occasions regarding the violations of his fundamental rights, the complaints were suppressed by senior prison authorities. Roshan is thus appealing for intervention to protect his human rights.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. Thilanga Roshan Perera (37) of Urban Council Quarters, Dambulla, Matale District, is a convicted prisoner presently serving his prison term at New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison Kandy.

According to Roshan’s mother, Mrs. D M Perera, Roshan was convicted in several cases. Altogether, he has to serve a total of 16 years in prison. The police have filed several other fabricated cases against him as well, which are still pending before the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court.

Mrs. Perera has visited Roshan several times after he was sent to the New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison. According to the present Prison Rules of the Prison Department, she is allowed to visit her son only once a month. At all her visits, Roshan complained of harassment by the prison officers. He clearly stated that on several occasions he was physically tortured by the officials and verbally abused with obscene language. Further, he has mentioned that a large number of prisoners are subjected to similar treatment.

The harassments faced by Roshan include disturbing his sleep, hazardous working arrangements as part of his sentences, and changing those arrangements to continuously disturb him. All of these amount to torture by the prison officers inside the prison compound. While Roshan on several occasions complained to senior prison officers to stop such harassments, his complaints were never investigated and he was provided no relief. He was merely transferred from one Ward to another, while the torture and harassment continued.

Then Roshan pleaded with the officers to allow him to complain to the Assistant Superintendent of Prison (ASP) or to the Superintendent of Prison (SP). He repeatedly requested the officers to provide the facilities to make a written complaint to the Commissioner General of Prison at Prison Headquarters. Neither opportunity nor facility were provided.

On the several occasions that he was brought to the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court, Roshan tried to complain to the magistrate directly. However, he was prevented from doing so by the prison officials and the police officers on duty.

Most recently on 28 June 2017, when he was produced before the Dambulla Magistrate again, he tried to address the magistrate and make his complaints. However, the police officers on duty and the prison official at the court compound did not allow him to talk in open court. Finally, he broke the sheet of the roof of the prison lockup at the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court and climbed to the roof. Then he screamed and protested, seeking an opportunity to complain to the magistrate about his continued harassment by the prison officials. He pleaded with the prison official to investigate his complaints. He demanded the officials to provide him a promise that he will not be subjected to further harassments by the prison officials. The officers accepted, and Roshan then came down from the roof.

Presently Roshan is in fear of his life. He states that as he complained against the prison officials he would be repetitively subjected to harassments. He fears further torture. Roshan and his mother are requesting prompt, independent, impartial and efficient investigation into his complaints.

Suggested Action:

Please send a letter to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegations of inhuman treatment and torture by the prison perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of department orders as issued by the prison department.

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SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________,

SRI LANKA: Prisoner protests against continuous ill treatment by prison officials

Name of Victims:Mr. Thilanga Roshan Perera (37) of Urban Council Quarters, Dambulla in the Matale District
Alleged perpetrators:

1) Superintendent of Prison, New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison, Kandy
2) Officers attached to the New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison, Kandy

Date of incident: Continues violations of rights, happened since several months.
Place of incident: New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison, Kandy

According to the information I have received Mr. Thilanga Roshan Perera (37) of Urban Council Quarters, Dambulla, Matale District, is a convicted prisoner presently serving his prison term at New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison Kandy.

According to Roshan’s mother, Mrs. D M Perera, Roshan was convicted in several cases. Altogether, he has to serve a total of 16 years in prison. The police have filed several other fabricated cases against him as well, which are still pending before the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court.

Mrs. Perera has visited Roshan several times after he was sent to the New Dumbara (Bogambara) Prison. According to the present Prison Rules of the Prison Department, she is allowed to visit her son only once a month. At all her visits, Roshan complained of harassment by the prison officers. He clearly stated that on several occasions he was physically tortured by the officials and verbally abused with obscene language. Further, he has mentioned that a large number of prisoners are subjected to similar treatment.

The harassments faced by Roshan include disturbing his sleep, hazardous working arrangements as part of his sentences, and changing those arrangements to continuously disturb him. All of these amount to torture by the prison officers inside the prison compound. While Roshan on several occasions complained to senior prison officers to stop such harassments, his complaints were never investigated and he was provided no relief. He was merely transferred from one Ward to another, while the torture and harassment continued.

Then Roshan pleaded with the officers to allow him to complain to the Assistant Superintendent of Prison (ASP) or to the Superintendent of Prison (SP). He repeatedly requested the officers to provide the facilities to make a written complaint to the Commissioner General of Prison at Prison Headquarters. Neither opportunity nor facility were provided.

On the several occasions that he was brought to the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court, Roshan tried to complain to the magistrate directly. However, he was prevented from doing so by the prison officials and the police officers on duty.

Most recently on 28 June 2017, when he was produced before the Dambulla Magistrate again, he tried to address the magistrate and make his complaints. However, the police officers on duty and the prison official at the court compound did not allow him to talk in open court. Finally, he broke the sheet of the roof of the prison lockup at the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court and climbed to the roof. Then he screamed and protested, seeking an opportunity to complain to the magistrate about his continued harassment by the prison officials. He pleaded with the prison official to investigate his complaints. He demanded the officials to provide him a promise that he will not be subjected to further harassments by the prison officials. The officers accepted, and Roshan then came down from the roof.

Presently Roshan is in fear of his life. He states that as he complained against the prison officials he would be repetitively subjected to harassments. He fears further torture. Roshan and his mother are requesting prompt, independent, impartial and efficient investigation into his complaints.

I request the intervention of your good offices to ensure that the authorities open an immediate investigation into the allegations of fundamental rights violations of the victim by the prison officers. The officers involved should also be subject to internal investigations for breach of Prison Department Orders and Prison Rules, and prosecuted under the law.

Yours sincerely,

———————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. H.M.N.C. Dhanasinghe
Commissioner General of Prisons
Prison Headquarters,
No.150,
Baseline Road,
Colombo 09
SRI LANKA
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
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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