The nuber of Police torture cases are on the increse and little is been don regarding complaints.The Independent Police Commission seems inactive.
“The next day at 9 am the same three police officers took him back to the Crime Branch and told him to sign a document which was already prepared. He signed it due to fear of further ill-treatment but affirms that he had no knowledge of the contents of the document. The officers then took him to a bathroom at the rear of the police compound where was stripped naked. He was then made to lie on a bench facing upwards. Then one of the police officers used a wooden mallet to beat his testicles. Following this his ankles were cuffed and he was tied to the bench with coir rope. One of the police officers then climbed onto the window sill and from there jumped onto Kumara’s chest.
Kopiya Waththage Don Chaminda Priyantha Kumara (32) holder of National Identity Card No: 800361842 V of No: C 51, Galvila Gawa Niwasa, Welangalle Gatathenna is married and the father of two children. He is working as a Substitute Health Assistant at the Nagoda General Hospital in Kalutara District.
On 21 May 2013 at 8.30 pm when Kumara was waiting for a bus at the Gallassena Junction which is close to the boarding house in which he resides in order to return home two men approached him and accused him of stealing a mobile phone. Kumara denied the allegation and the two persons called the police.
Within a few moments the police arrived and Kumara was arrested by a police team consisting of three officers commanded by the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Crime Branch of the Kalutara South Police Station. Following his arrest he was placed in a jeep and made to sit on the floor in the rear. As it moved off the OIC started to beat Kumara with a stick cut from a cinnamon tree. He was driven to the police station where he was taken to the crime branch. Then one of the arresting officers started beating him with the stick. Due to a previous accident Kumara has lost his left arm below the elbow so the police officer deliberately beat his right arm telling him that he would break it. He was then placed in a cell where he remained until the following morning.
The next day at 9 am the same three police officers took him back to the Crime Branch and told him to sign a document which was already prepared. He signed it due to fear of further ill-treatment but affirms that he had no knowledge of the contents of the document. The officers then took him to a bathroom at the rear of the police compound where was stripped naked. He was then made to lie on a bench facing upwards. Then one of the police officers used a wooden mallet to beat his testicles. Following this his ankles were cuffed and he was tied to the bench with coir rope. One of the police officers then climbed onto the window sill and from there jumped onto Kumara’s chest.
Following this the officers moved the bench on which Kumara was tied to the wall where there was a tap and hose pipe. While one officer sat astride Kumara another tied a cloth about his eyes and started to force water into his mouth and nose. While this was going on another officer started to beat the soles of his feet with the cinnamon stick. The officers took it in turns to force the water into his mouth and nose and beat him. Kumara was suffering enormous pain felt as if he was drowning and pleaded with the officers to stop.
While this was going on the officers accused him of stealing mobile phones, computers, the burglary of a banana shop where he stole soap and washing powder. The officers asked him how many houses he had burgled. When Kumara could no longer stand the pain he started struggle. One officer took the cinnamon stick and held it against his throat while another increased the flow of water at his face.
Sometime later the officers released Kumara and washed him clean, clothed him and took him to the canteen inside the station where they made him sit on a chair. They shouted at him using obscene language and threatened to have him sacked from his job as a health assistant. Kumara continued to deny the allegations made against him. They then encircled his neck with a hose pipe which two officers then pulled on as they continued to threaten him, insisting that he tell the truth. Despite his fear and pain Kumara continued to deny the allegations.
He was then taken to the office of the OIC of the Crime Branch and made to knell before the officer. As he was kneeling the OIC started to beat him with the cinnamon stick about the head and shoulders. Kumara noticed that there were several cinnamon sticks in the office.
They then put a chain about his waist and attached the other end to the leg of a table and ordered him to crawl around the office on his knees. While he was doing so they continued to beat him with the sticks. He was then told to stand up and the OIC trampled on his toes with his boots.
After this ill-treatment Kumara was taken in a jeep to his boarding house where the officers made a search of his room without a warrant. Despite searching for some time they found his National Identity Card, his driving license, a hospital identity card and three SIM cards belonging to him. While there he was ordered to put on a clean T shirt.
From the boarding house Kumara was brought to the Nagoda General Hospital and the JMO’s office. Before taking him to the JMO, Kumara was told to remove his shirt and the officers made him walk about to see if he could do so without limping. He was then told to put the shirt back on and produced before the doctor.
The doctor ordered the police officers to wait outside so Kumara was able to reveal the injuries he had suffered to the man and explained as to how he was tortured. The injuries included swollen testicles, swelling, bruising and bleeding injuries to his feet, there were also injuries on his back, shoulders and arms and he was not able to walk properly. After the interview the police returned him to the station.
Within ten minutes of their arrival he was taken to the chambers of the Additional Magistrate of Kalutara. He was made to wait outside the chambers while the officers spoke to the Magistrate, then he was handed over to the prison officers. As he was not able to speak directly to the Magistrate he was not able to tell him about his ordeal.
Almost immediately after arriving at the Remand Prison of Kalutara he felt unconscious. When he regained consciousness the prison officials inquired about his condition and he told them of the ordeal he had undergone at the hands of the police officers. He was then admitted to the Prison Hospital where his statement was recorded and he was treated. On 31 May he was again produced before the Magistrate of Kalutara who enlarged him on Surety bail of Rs. 15,000/=. At no time did any lawyer appear on his behalf. As there was no one to sign for his Surety he was returned to Remand Prison. On 3 June he was released from the Remand Prison and told that he was to appear before the Magistrate of Kalutara on 13 September, 2013.
Immediately after his release he went to the Kalutara South Police Station to collect his belongings. When he met the OIC the officer shouted at him saying, “We were waiting to inform you by post that we are going to file another fabricated charge against you”. The OIC told him to wait inside the station while they collected his belonging. After waiting for five hours he was told to go home and return on another day.
Kumara states that he was illegally arrested, detained, tortured and laid with fabricated charges by the police officers attached to the Kalutara South Police Station. He vehemently denies these charges and has made a complaint to the Inspector General of Police and the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Neither of these authorities has responded to his complaints.
Kumara appeals for justice.
*A Statement of Asian Human Rights Commission