SRI LANKA: Inmate extra-judicially murdered inside Polonnaruwa Remand Prison
Posted on October 18th, 2017

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information regarding Pitawalagedara Chandrarathna (47), resident of Bakamuna Police Division. Chandrarathna was arrested on 4 May 2017 charged with participation in a murder. After being detained for 14 days, he was found dead on 18 September 2017–murdered inside the Polonnaruwa Remand Prison.   Prison Authorities said that they handed over the dead body to the family on the same day. But they failed to explain the way in which the death occurred or name those responsible. Relatives of the victim demand an independent, efficient and impartial investigation into the death of their relative. THEY ARE WAITING TO SEE JUSTICE SERVED…

Case Narrative:

Pitawalagedara Chandrarathna (47) of Yaya 32, Konduruwewa, Aththanakadawala, Bakamuna in the Polonnaruwa District, is the victim of an extra-judicial killing.

Chandrarathna was arrested by Police Officers attached to the Bakamun Police Station on 4 May 2017. He was brought to the police station and accused of participating in the murder of a woman in the area. Later, he was produced before the Polonnaruwa Magistrate’s Court and remanded. On 19 May he was produced before the Magistrate again and remand was extended. Chandrarathna’s mental condition was one of a seriously disturbed person. On 21 June, while before the Magistrate, the Prison Authority directed that he be psychologically evaluated. A report on his condition was called for. Three times he was produced before the Magistrate after his arrest and detention in the Polonnaruwa Remand Prison. His case was postponed to 27 September 2017.

On 18 September 2017, Prison Authorities informed the family that Chandrarathna died in prison. They were shocked by this information. They tried to visit the prison to see where the death took place. But it was not allowed. They were ordered to be present in the Magistrate’s Court when the Death Inquest was held. The relatives were simply not aware of what happened inside the prison. No one explained to them: how the death occurred; where it happened; what was the cause of death; who were the people responsible for the life of the deceased?

When repeatedly questioned, the senior prison officer declared that Officers found Chandrarathna’s dead body lying on the floor next to the common toilets inside the prison. They took the body to the Polonnaruwa General Hospital mortuary and handed it over.

However, relatives stated that even at 9:30 a.m. he was alive and seen by other inmates. At 10:30 a.m. the inmates were told that the victim was dead.

The relatives believed that Chandrarathna had been tortured and succumbed to these injuries. Their position is that their relative was extra-judicially killed by Prison Officers while he was remanded and detained under their custody. They said that Prison Officers violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They are calling for an independent, efficient and impartial investigation into the murder. THEY SEEK JUSTICE FOR THEIR RELATIVE.

Suggested Action:

Please send letters to the Authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Request an immediate investigation into the allegation of an extra-judicially killing of an inmate by Prison Officers. Under criminal law, prosecute those proven to be responsible for misusing the powers of the State. The Officers involved should face an internal investigation for breach of Police Departmental Orders.

To support this case, please click here:  

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________, 

SRI LANKA: Inmate extra-judicially murdered inside Polonnaruwa Remand Prison

Name of Victim: Pitawalagedara Chandrarathna (47) of Yaya 32, Konduruwewa, Aththanakadawala, Bakamuna in the Polonnaruwa District

Alleged perpetrators: Prison Officers of the Polonnaruwa Remand Prison

Date of incident: 18 September 2017

Place of incident: Polonnaruwa Remand Prison

According to information I have received Pitawalagedara Chandrarathna (47) of Yaya 32, Konduruwewa, Aththanakadawala, Bakamuna in the Polonnaruwa District, is the victim of an extra-judicial killing.

Chandrarathna was arrested by Police Officers attached to the Bakamun Police Station on 4 May 2017. He was brought to the police station and accused of participating in the murder of a woman in the area. Later, he was produced before the Polonnaruwa Magistrate’s Court and remanded. On 19 May he was produced before the Magistrate again and remand was extended. Chandrarathna’s mental condition was one of a seriously disturbed person. On 21 June, while before the Magistrate, the Prison Authority directed that he be psychologically evaluated. A report on his condition was called for. Three times he was produced before the Magistrate after his arrest and detention in the Polonnaruwa Remand Prison. His case was postponed to 27 September 2017.

On 18 September 2017, Prison Authorities informed the family that Chandrarathna died in prison. They were shocked by this information. They tried to visit the prison to see where the death took place. But it was not allowed. They were ordered to be present in the Magistrate’s Court when the Death Inquest was held. The relatives were simply not aware of what happened inside the prison. No one explained to them: how the death occurred; where it happened; what was the cause of death; who were the people responsible for the life of the deceased?

When repeatedly questioned, the senior prison officer declared that Officers found Chandrarathna’s dead body lying on the floor next to the common toilets inside the prison. They took the body to the Polonnaruwa General Hospital mortuary and handed it over.

However, relatives stated that even at 9:30 a.m. he was alive and seen by other inmates. At 10:30 a.m. the inmates were told that the victim was dead.

The relatives believed that Chandrarathna had been tortured and succumbed to these injuries. Their position is that their relative was extra-judicially killed by Prison Officers while he was remanded and detained under their custody. They said that Prison Officers violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They are calling for an independent, efficient and impartial investigation into the murder.

I request the intervention of your good offices. Ensure that the Authorities listed below open an immediate investigation. They should look into allegations of violations of fundamental rights of the victim by Officers of the Sri Lanka Prison Department. The 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: igp@police.lk

2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: ag@attorneygeneral.gov.lk

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: npcgen@sltnet.lk or polcom@sltnet.lk

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: sechrc@sltnet.lk

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Visit our website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.

Asian Human Rights Commission

G/F

52 Princess Margaret Road

Ho Man Tin, Kowloon

Hongkong S.A.R.

Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367

Web: www.humanrights.asia

twitter/youtube/facebook: humanrightsasia

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2017 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress