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Jul-28-2011 13:45printcomments

Sources Say Sri Lankan Man Arrested for Murder not the Culprit

The arrested postal worker adds that shortly following his arrest the estate authorities discontinued the work of his father.

Torture
Salem-News.com

(COLOMBO ) - Mr. Sathiyaseelan Jegadishan (24) of Sogana Upper Division, Pussellawa in the Nuwara Eliya District was illegally arrested by officers of the Pussellawa Police Station on 2 June 2010. Jegadishan, an employee of the Pussellawa Post Office received a message that there was a commotion in his village. Accordingly he to the police station and brought the officers to the scene to investigate. Later the police officers arrested Jagadishan, detained him and charged him with murder instead of arresting the real culprits. He has vehemently denied the charge and states that his fundamental rights were violated by the police officers when they arbitrarily ill-treated him. This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Mr. Sathiyaseelan Jegadishan (24) of Sogana Upper Division, Pussellawa in the Nuwara Eliya District was a staff member at the Pussellawa Post Office. He lived with his parents and two sisters who are still schooling at Pussellawa. His father works at the Sogama Estate while his mother remains at home after undergoing an operation.

On 26 May 2010 Jegadishan received a telephone call at around 9 pm from a friend by the name of Jayasundaram who lives in the same estate requesting him to come immediately with the police, as there was a problem in the neighborhood. Jegadishan went to the Pussellawa Police Station with Mr. Duleep, another neighbour and informed the officers of the situation. As the police had no vehicle the officers requested Jegadishan and his friend Duleep to accompany six of them to the house of Jayasundaram.

After they arrived at the scene in a three wheeler, the police officers learned that those involved in the fracas were no longer in the area and they went back to the police station. However, Jegadishan saw a person lying on the road behind Jayasundaram's house close to the Hindu temple. He inquired of Jayasundaram what had happened and in reply Jayasundaram told him that the man was dead and that he knew nothing else. He further explained that the dead person fought with Jayasundaram and other neighbors before Jegadishan arrived at the scene with the police officers.

Having informed the police about the incident Jegadishan returned home. On 2 June, 2010 Jegadishan was asked to go to the police station where he waited from 9 am to 5 pm along with Duleep. At around 5 pm Jegadishan was taken to a room for questioning where he was slapped about and threatened. The officers demanded to know if he knew who had killed Mohan (the deceased).

Later that night Jegadishan was put in the police cell along with Duleep where he was detailed until 5 June. During the three days he was subjected to ill and degrading treatment. He was forced to sign some documents which he did due to fear of further torture. Then he was produced before the Magistrate at his residence and was remanded at Raja Veediya Remand Prison.

Jegadishan and Duleep were granted bail by the High Court judge on the 9 February 2011 after almost nine months. Two more suspects were also arrested and remanded at the Raja Veediya Prison, however Jayasundaram who was arrested on 1 June and was released on 5 June when Jegadishan and his friend Duleep were produced before the Magistrate. Jegadishan learned later that Jayasundaram had allegedly given a bribe in the sum of Rs. 75,000.00 to the OIC of the police station to get himself released.

When Jagadishan reported to work at the Pussellawa Post Office on 18 February 2011, he was asked to provide a letter giving the reason for his absence. However, he informed the Post Master about his arrest through the police and this man informed the Post Master General because he was arrested while on duty. Jagadishan having worked on 18 and 19 February was asked not to report for work until further notice. He then received a letter from the Deputy Post Master General on 1 June 2011 to say that his services were discontinued on the account that he was involved in a murder. This decision was arrived at without any inquiry what-so-ever.

Therefore, Jegadishan states that he was produced before the Magistrate on a fabricated charge and that he is a victim of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment and that he is totally innocent of the charge of murder. Further he states that he was illegally arrested and detained by the police officers attached to the Pussellawa Police Station.

He believes that in order to release Jayasundaram, the police officers forcefully involved Jegadishan and Duleep in the murder of Mohan. He repeats that he is the person who accompanied the police to the scene of the crime and that the officers knew this full well. However, despite this they still made him a suspect of the murder.

He further states that the Post Master General arbitrarily discontinued his services without an inquiry and that as he was only a suspect in the case his rights were further violated.

Jegadishan also states that shortly following his arrest the estate authorities discontinued the work of his father, Sathiyaseelan.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported innumerable cases of the torture of innocent persons and the filing of fabricated charges by the Sri Lankan police. Both practices are illegal under international and local law and have taken place at different Police Stations in the country over the past few years.

The State of Sri Lanka signed and ratified the CAT on 3 January 1994. Following state obligations Sri Lanka adopted Act number 22 of 1994 the law adopted by the Sri Lankan parliament making torture a crime that can be punishable for minimum seven years and not less than ten years on being proven guilty. The Attorney General of Sri Lanka is suppose to file indictments in the case where credible evidence were found on torturing people by state officers.

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 illegal arrest, illegal detention and failing fabricated charges by the police perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of a state. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the police department. Further, please also request the National Police Commission and the Inspector General of Police to have a special investigation into the malpractices of the police officers for abusing the state officers' powers.

Please note that the AHRC has also written a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on this regard.




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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