SRI LANKA: Acid thrower remains free and the victim who lost the use of one eye due to the attack is made the accused

In our statement, SRI LANKA: Permanent loss of sight in one eye due to cruel and inhuman treatment, (http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2008statements/1632/) we earlier reported the permanent loss of use of one eye by a young man, Asantha Aravindra due to acid being thrown in his face by a truck driver while Aravindra was already in the custody of the police. The name of the acid thrower is Vithanage Chandrasiri who is also known as Chandrasiri Mudalali. The police team who accompanied Chandrasiri Mudalali arrested Aravindra and one of his friends, was lead by Inspector of Police (IP), W.H. Karunasena, who was the Officer-in-Charge of the Pitabaddara Police. After the acid attack Aravindra and his friend were taken to the Pitabaddara Police Station and held there, without being provided any medical treatment despite of the pleas of the family of the two suspects.

After several days when Aravindra was taken to the Matara Hospital the police were instructed by the doctors to allow the suspect to take treatment as a warded patient. Thereafter, the same Inspector, W.H. Karunasena filed a report to the Magistrate’s Court. In that report the police officer masterfully constructed a story in which the victim of the acid attach was made the suspect and the acid thrower was made the victim. We produce below the translation of the report filed at Moraweka Magistrate’s Court on 1.3.2008. In this the police inspector constructed the story that Aravindra was fleeing after attempting to shoot Chandrasiri Mudalali and that Aravindra was arrested in possession of a live bomb by a large crowd of people who were searching with the police. His report states that some unknown person in the crowd threw the acid in Aravindra¬ís face. This inspector of police reports that as it was done at night time it was not possible to identify the acid thrower.

The Inspector of Police, W.H. Kuranasena subsequently died due to natural causes. However, the report he fabricated is still in court and as a result Aravindra, who lost the use of his eye due to the acid attack by Chandrasiri Mudalali is still in remand custody as the fabricated charge of the possession of a live bomb is a non-bailable offense.

A request has been made to the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Akuressa, the other police authorities in the area, and the Inspector General of Police to investigate into this matter. A complaint has also been made to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the National Police Commission. However, to-date, no inquiries have been made and Aravindra and his friend remain in remand. Meanwhile the acid thrower is at large and enjoys being the complainant instead of the accused.

We reproduce below a translation of the report filed by IP W.H. Karunasena.

 

Sri Lanka Police
Information provided to the Magistrate

G.C.I.B. 01
Place No. 148

A criminal investigation report made under sections
115 (1), (2), (3) and (4), 120 (1) (2) and (3) 
of Chapter xi of the Criminal Procedure Code, Act No. 15 of 1979

I, the Officer-in-Charge of the Pitabaddara Police, IP W.H. Kuranasena, hereby report that I have investigated a complaint made on 29.2.2008 by the Officer-in-Charge of the Pitabaddara Police, IP W.H. Kuranasena, residing at the Pitabaddara Police Station.

I, the Officer-in-Charge of the Pitabaddara Police Station, IP W.H. Kuranasena, while I was engaged in my duties at the Police Station received a telephone call on 29.2.2008 stating that there was an attempt to shot and kill Chandrasiri Mudalali, residing in Thannehena and on the basis of inquiries arrested suspect, Dodampe Gamage Assantha Aravindra, living at No. 466 Madawelamulla, Galle, who had in his possession a live bomb with a plastic cover of which the middle part was black in colour and the top was green in colour. This suspect was arrested when he was fleeing away after shooting Vithanage Chandrasiri, whose address is Nathaviwala Road, Thannehena, Pitabaddara. At the time of the arrest a large number of people of the area were searching together with the police for the suspect. I took into my custody the live bomb which was found on his possession and registered it under the receipt regarding Police Station Properties bearing number 145/2008.

At the time of arresting the suspect somebody from among the large number of people gathered at the place threw acid on the face of suspect and as it was the night time it was not possible to find the one who threw the acid.

The suspect who was injured by the acid is taking treatment, warded at the Matara Hospital. I am requesting an order for the Magistrate of Matara to visit the suspect and to make order for the suspect to receive medical treatment under the custody of the remand officers.

This is an offense which can be punishable under the Offensive Weapons Act, Act No. 18 of 1996. I am also asking for an order to hand over the live bomb taken into custody to the Commanding Officers of Boossa Army Camp to defuse it and to submit the defused parts to the court.

I also request that the suspect be remanded from 1.3.2008 to 10.3.2008 and to make an order to the remand authorities to produce him at the Magistrate’s Court of Moraweka on that day.

Signed

Officer-in-Charge of the Police
Pitabaddara

The Asian Human Rights Commission states that this is a glaring case of a scandalous abuse of power and miscarriage of justice. We urge all authorities to investigate the matter on an urgent basis and withdraw the fabricated charges. We urge that the acid thrower be brought to justice.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-218-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,