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May-14-2012 15:32printcomments

SRI LANKA: Chilaw Police Illegally Arrested, Tortured an Innocent Man

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes contacts Sri Lanka's Inspector General of Police over arbitrary arrest and torture.

N K Illangakoon - Inspector General of Police
N K Illangakoon - Inspector General of Police, photo: Sri Lanka Guardian

(HONG KONG) - Try to imagine that you are taking a break from your work day, and a police officer calls you over for no reason, and begins asking questions about an illegal liquor smuggling operation that you know nothing about.

When you tell the police that you know nothing about this illegal operation or any other like it, they begin to beat you. A second police officer, initially assumed to be a trusted public official, paid by tax dollars of hard working people, takes a black cable out of his jeep and begins beating you with it.

After being tortured by these police for a crime you didn't commit, you suddenly realize that the sadistic officers are just getting started. Next, they take you to a remote place, and order you to strip naked. Then, the same officer takes that black cable out again and begins beating you without mercy, all on government business.

Welcome to Sri Lanka, where murder and rape are some of the most flagrant and common of occurrences; a place of lawlessness, where police and military beat and torture and sometimes kill, with seeming impunity.

The example above is more than an example, it is the recent experience of a young father named Aruna who was brutally victimized by police, so badly in fact, that he would require four days of hospitalization before any type of recovery.

May 14,2012

Mr. N K Illangakoon
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877

Dear Inspector General of Police,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem . I am writing to express my serious concern over the case of Mr. N A Aruna Roshantha (42) of Mugunuwatawana, Chilaw in the district of Puttalam. Aruna was illegally arrested, detained, brutally tortured and laid with fabricated charges. Aruna is married, the father of one child and a labourer in a brick kiln in the area. On 24 March 2012, at lunch time as usual he went home for his meal and on his way he was having a chat with people in a neighbouring house as next work shift started at 2.30pm. He was about to chew some betel and Erica nuts with the people whom he had known for a long time. It was then that he noted a uniformed police officer approaching him who asked him to come to the jeep parked nearby.

When Aruna followed the officer he saw the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Chilaw Police Station Manoj Ranagala, getting down from the jeep and coming to him. Then the OIC questioned Aruna whether he knows a person called Sebastian of the Watawana area and any place where people were brewing illicit liquor. Aruna responded that he did not know of any such place or person.

Then, suddenly OIC Manoj started beating Aruna and threatened him all the while repeatedly asking the same questions. Despite his shock and pain Aruna continued to deny any knowledge of what the OIC was asking him. Then OIC Manoj brought a black cable from the police-jeep with which he started to beat Aruna. OIC Manoj ordered Aruna to get into the jeep parked close to the house. Even though Aruna explained that he had to report for the next shift his plea was ignored and he was mercilessly pushed into the vehicle. Aruna noted that the vehicle stopped at an isolated place. Then, OIC Manoj ordered Aruna to remove all his clothes and started to beat Aruna again with the same black cable. Aruna appealed to the OIC not to beat him and told the officers present that he had never committed any crime and he did not know any answers to their questioned. Later, OIC Manoj stopped a lorry and placed Aruna inside it. Aruna was publicly exhibited in the same village as a suspect and at 8pm he was brought to the Chilaw Police Station.

At the police station officers on duty brought 5 empty bottles to Aruna and him to put finger prints on the bottles. Aruna refused to touch the bottles and pleaded the officers not to put him into any further trouble but the officers threatened him with further torture. When Aruna refused to touch the bottles the officers forcefully pushed his fingers on them. Then at 12 pm police officers told Aruna that he could go home. In the early morning of 27 March Aruna was admitted to the Chilaw Base Hospital for treatments as his condition worsened. He was treated at the hospital for a period of four days and discharged on 30 March. While he was in the hospital an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) came to him and recorded a statement on the assault by the police officers. Aruna states that still he does not know of any success on this inquiry.

Aruna and his family members state that his basic human rights enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka were violated. They further state that the law enforcement agency of the country has not initiated any efficient, independent and credible inquiry unto the violation of his rights. He states that justice has been denied and perpetrators are not being punished.

I request your urgent intervention to ensure that the authorities of Sri Lanka to instigate an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, illegal detention, torture by the police perpetrators, and the prosecution of those to be proven responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of state officers and for wrongful prosecution. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the departmental orders as issued by the police department.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador Salem

______________________________ Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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AMEENA June 26, 2012 6:20 am (Pacific time)

Mr.Gomes you are absulitly right if you are a Sinhalees Buddist and doing illigal dirty work for the Ministers you will excape from any brutal Murder rape or corruptions. I have a story to tell you. my mother 80 years has been brutally murdered by four men with the help of the maid on9th Jan,2012. at Piliyandala until today the murderes are working freely because this murderess sealing drugs for the politicans. so there is no justice for them. I went and complain to the IGP sent petitions to the President, Ministry of Defence there is no advise at all. My mother is burried like animal today. HER SON 24 year serving the Army fight for the FREEDOM for this Crrupted COUNTRY.

sam May 19, 2012 7:24 am (Pacific time)


ram May 19, 2012 7:22 am (Pacific time)

RIP :(

Anonymous May 16, 2012 8:27 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Gomez,
Can you name one country that has no such treatment of suspects such as you have experienced in Sri Lanka. For instance, this happens where I live - in the USA and Canada on a daily basis. This is called “police brutality” and complaints such as yours are just swept under the rug per se. I don’t think treatment you received is out of line in a country like Sri Lanka, a developing nation where such crime is widespread. In Bangladesh where you live, this type of abuse is rampant and you are lucky to have escaped by not being at the “wrong place at the wrong time” just as it did happen to you in Sri Lanka. If you had been roughed out for being a journalist, then some sympathy is in order. So, stop crying foul!

Editor: The USA and Canada have problems but are paradise next to Sri Lanka, of course if you are a Sinhala Buddhist then obviously you get along fine, as long as you don't say one single word in support of Tamils or against the Genocide of Tamils.  Nazi's fared well in Germany in the 30's, Zionists fare well in Israel, but that is because they are also apartheid /war crime governments and it comes down to where you were born.  There is no comparison between the danger of Sri Lanka and most any place in the world.  Rape, Murder, Genocide, all forms of corruption, and a brutal military.  Think about it.

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