SRI LANKA: Gerald Perera’s torture case: Assassins of torture victims are rewarded by court

Gerarld Perera was a torture victim recognized by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.  Attorney General filed action against 6 police officers for the torture of Gerald Perera.  A week before Gerald Perera was to give evidence before court , he was assassinated while travelling by bus.  The purpose of this assassination was to prevent Gerald Perera from giving evidence in court and identifying those who tortured him. Today, Negambo High Court acquitted all the six police officers on the basis that there was no eye-witness evidence about the torture of Gerald Perera which took place inside the police station.

Deputy Solicitor General, Savindra Fernando prosecuted this case.  His argument before the court was that there is clear evidence that Gerald Perera came to the police station as a healthy person and went out of the police station, being severely injured, which led to renal failure.  He argued that there is clear evidence that the six police officers were the persons who arrested them and Gerald was in their custody throughout his stay at the police station.  Citing legal authorities, Deputy Solicitor General submitted to court that given the fact that the torture has happened at the police station and these officers were in charge of the custody of the prisoner, they should be in libel for the torture of Gerald Perera.

However, the high court held that the arrest of Gerald Perera has been proved and that the court is satisfied that the injuries happened inside the police station.  However, the court did not draw the conclusion as suggested by the state council and stated that direct eye-witness evidence is necessary to prove the charges.

Earlier, the Supreme Court held the police officers responsible for the torture and also the officer in charge of the[police station,  Senasuravira as also being responsible for the torture.  Initially, Senasuravira was made an accused in the case by the Attorney General.  Later, the Attorney General withdrew his name.  Senasuravira gave evidence in court in this trial and stated that the arrest and the detention of Gerald Perara was done by the six accused who were working under the supervision of the officer  and the Assistant Superintendent of Police.

The AHRC is shocked by the decision of the high court and will urge the Attorney General to appeal against this verdict.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-084-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,