Dear Mr. N K Illangakoon,

SRI LANKA: An innocent man is illegally arrested, tortured and laid with a false charge by the Wattala Police

Name of the victim: Mr. Narahenpita Gamage Sisil Weerasinghe(48) is resides at No: 212/1, Woodland Estate, Colombo Road, Chilaw
Alleged perpetrator:
1. Police officer Mr. Mahinda attached to the Police Station of Wattala
2. Two other police officers attached to the Police Station of Wattala
Date of incident: 30 December 2011
Place of incident: Wattala Police Station

I am writing to express my serious concern over the case of Mr. Narahenpita Gamage Sisil Weerasinghe (48). Sisil is married, the father of two daughters and a retired soldier. Sisil, who resides at No: 212/1, Woodland Estate, Colombo Road, Chilaw is disabled as the result of injuries to the right leg and hand in a battle during July 1992. Following his partial recovery Sisil was removed from operational duties and given light duties. He retired from the service in 2007 and later worked as a private security guard attached to the Peoples Bank.

On 30 December 2011, he was working at the People’s Bank branch at the Headquarters of Island Revenue Department at Fort, Colombo. On this particular day after completing his work he was on his way home by bus. Then as he felt a stomachache he informed the conductor and asked him to stop the bus. He alighted from the bus and went to a nearby for toilet after which he waited for another bus to continue to his home.

While he was waiting a red colour three-wheeler came and stopped in front of him. Then the persons who were in police uniforms asked him what he was waiting at the roadside for at that time (by this time it was close to 10 pm). Then Sisil explained what had happened to him and told the officers that he is waiting for a bus. The police officers accused him of planning to commit to a house breaking. Sisil explained to them that he was a former soldier of the Sri Lanka Army, that he was disabled and presently working at the Peoples Bank Security Section at the Island Revenue Department Branch. However, the officers did not accept his explanation, accused him of arguing with them and started to beat him with fists and boots. The officers then dragged him into the three-wheeler and brought him to the Wattala Police Station.

At the police station again three police officers including a police officer who was later identified as Mr. Mahinda started to beat him with a cricket bat. Another officer beat him with a plastic pipe that had been filled with sand. Sisil was assaulted all over his body and pleaded with the officers not to beat him. He repeatedly explained that he was a disable soldier but the officers did not listen. Even after Sisil fell to the ground the officers continued to beat Sisil mercilessly. Later they locked him in a cell.

As Sisil was suffering immense pain he pleaded with the officers to provide medicine. They then took him out from the cell and brought him before a doctor. Before he was brought into the doctor two officers held his arms while another officer forcefully poured liquor into his mouth. Sisil tried to resist but the officers forced him. Then he was brought before the doctor. Then Sisil explained to the doctor in the presence of the perpetrators how he was tortured in police custody. He further told the doctor that due to the assault one of his hands was fractured and that he was experiencing enormous pain. However, to his amazement the doctor ignore him and did not provide any treatment or medicine.

Later Sisil was returned to the police station and put back in the cell. When he started to screaming with pain one of the officers gave him two tablets but he did not know what it was.

Later in the morning on 31 Sisil was asked to sign a document but he refused. He further explained that he cannot read without his spectacles. The officers told him that if he signed and pleaded guilty at court he could go home and get treatment. He then signed the document and was brought to the Wattala Magistrate’s Court. The police officers who tortured him were present in the court and they stood close to Sisil while he was produced before the Magistrate. Sisil did as he was instructed and pleaded guilty. He later learned that he had been charged with indecent behaviour due to being inebriated. He was then fined Rs. 1,500/=. Sisil vehemently denies the accusation and states that as he was in severe pain and in fear of further torture by the perpetrators who never once left his side. He therefore states that he had no option but to plead guilty to the charge.

Sisil went home and received treatment from a doctor. Though the doctor provided medicine by 2 January, 2012 Sisil’s condition worsened. He was admitted to the Chilaw Base Hospital for treatment by his family members. While he was treated at the hospital the doctors revealed to him that there is a fracture in his hand. The Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) examined him and recorded his situation. The officers attached to the Police Post of the Hospital also recorded his statement. On 4 January he was discharged but he was asked to return to the clinic for further treatment.

Sisil states that he was illegally arrested, detained, severely tortured and maliciously prosecuted. He states that his fundamental rights were violated by the police officers attached to the Wattala Police Station.

After he was discharge from the hospital Sisil complained to the Human Rights Commission, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General, the Director of Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police, Senior Superintendent of Police of the Western Province (North) and the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Wattala Police Station. To-date none of these authorities have responded to him nor investigated his complaint.

I request your urgent intervention to ensure that the authorities listed below instigate an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, illegal detention, torture by the police perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be 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 department orders as issued by the police department.

Yours sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
William’s Desk

www.williamgomes.org

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William Nicholas Gomes is a human rights activist and freelance journalist based in Britain.

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