SRI LANKA: Reminder of the murder trial of Gerald Perera at the Gampaha High Court on July 21, 2006

The HRCSL under the leadership of the earlier commissioners decided to send a legal representative from the HRCSL to attend the trials relating to the torture and murder of the victim, Gerald Perera who was waiting to give evidence in a torture case against several police officers from the Wattala Police Station for severely torturing him when he was brutally murdered.  The HRCSL made a public statement on this issue stating that if victims of human rights abuse are murdered in this way no one will come forward to make complaints about torture and other grace abuses of human rights.  It also stated that it will ensure that the perpetrators of the act are prosecuted and punished.  To underline their commitment they hired a lawyer to attend the trials and the High Court.

The first date of trial of the murder case is on July 21, 2006.  We hope that HRCSL will keep to its undertaking and send a lawyer to represent the Human Rights Commission at this trial.

The Asian Human Rights Commission also takes the opportunity to remind the HRCSL that it has not yet made any investigation or order regarding compensation for Gerald Perera’s widow and family.

The Sri Lankan government reported to the UN agencies that inquiries had been conducted into this case and that they had established that the murder was carried out by some of the policemen out of fear that they may suffer a jail sentence for committing such torture.

On the basis of such acknowledgments it is only proper that the HRCSL to attend to the issue of compensation for the family of Gerald Perera taking into consideration the fact that he was murder for the sole reason of pursuing a complaint regarding torture done to him by state officers.  The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, as you are aware held that these officers had committed the torture.  Under these circumstances this is a fit case for the HRCSL to consider granting exemplary damages and compensation for the victim’s family.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Basil Fernando
Executive Director

Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OL-026-2006
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Impunity,