SRI LANKA: Police allegedly assault and fabricate charges against three men for refusing to pay bribe


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-015-2008
ISSUES: Corruption, Police violence,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the alleged assault of three men after illegal arrest by Galgamuwa police on 25 November 2007 in Sri Lanka. Police allegedly asked them to pay a bribe for release. One was released after paying whereas others refused. Others were forced to sign a statement and charged, which they were not aware.

CASE DETAILS: (based on the testimony from the victims: Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma, Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa and Angamuvegama Padilige)

One organisation, the Sambodhi Vihara Samitiya located at No 106, Wijerama Mawatha Colombo 07, released cattle and they are to be given free to villagers and homes. According to the local custom it is a great meritorious act to release cattle that are condemned to slaughter upon a money payment. Usually these cattle are given to temples and individuals who will look after them. The cattle released by the organisation were transported with a letter requesting permission for such transport written on the organisation’s letterhead in place of the relevant legal permit required for the purpose.

On November 24, 2007, Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma head priest of the Bodhirajarama Viharasthana in Anuradhapura, who had been working this for the last 2 years, obtained twenty five cattle from the organisation to be distributed among villagers along with the letters requesting permission for such transport.

The letters were signed by the Rev. Dharagama Kusaladamma Thero the head priest of the Sambodhi Vihara. He had earlier transferred 40 cattle to the Mihintale police and 15 cattle to the Kahatagagiliya police to distribute the cattle amongst the people of those areas, which he had obtained from the Colombo Sambodhi Vihara.

In this time, out of the 25 cattle obtained that day by the Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma, 15 cattle were given to Peter Lenus and H.M. Dharmadasa to be distributed among the villages. Peter Lenus and H.M. Dharmadasa transported their fifteen cattle in a lorry bearing license no 226-5226.

At around 2:30am on November 25 when they reached the village Angomugama, they did not have room in their properties to keep the cattle. They then knocked on the door of Nuhulebbege Mohomaddu Padil, known as Angamuvegama Padilige and asked his permission to tie the cattle in his property till the next day. Peter Lenus and H.M. Dharmadasa said that they were acting in accordance to the instructions of the Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma.

At 3am on the same day, some 4 officers from the Galgamuwa police came in a jeep to the house of Angamuvegama Padilige with the driver of the lorry and another person whom Dharmadasa and Peter Lenus came with. The police inquired after the cattle. Angamuvegama Padilige told them how the cattle came to be in his property and then phoned and told Dharmadasa that the police were inquiring about the cattle. After a while Dharmadasa and Peter Lenus came to his house. The police sent the lorry driver and other person to bring the lorry to the Angamuvegama Padilige’s property and got them to pack the cattle back into the lorry.

The police then assaulted Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa and Angamuvegama Padilige many times with their hands and feet, accusing them that they had brought the cattle to make them into meat (slaughter).

After this assault, the police took by jeep Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa, Angamuvegama Padilige to the Galgamuwa police station. They also took the lorry containing the 15 cattle into custody and got the victims to let out and tie the cattle in the police property.

At the police station, the police asked Angamuvegama Padalige to pay a bribe of Rs. 50,000 (USD 430) to be set free. After negotiation, he paid Rs. 20,000 (USD 185) and the police released him. However, Peter Lenus and H.M. Dharmadasa were put into the police cell. Angamuvegama Padalige does not want to reveal this fact due to fear of his life.

Upon being informed of the incident, Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma went to the police station to clarify this matter at 6am on November 25. However, he was taken into custody and put into the cell. When he was explaining, he told that the other 10 cattle obtained from the Sambodhi Vihara Samithiya on the same day were grazing in his temple property, Bodhirajarama Viharasthana in Anuradhapura. As the police heard this, they went to the temple at 5pm on that evening and brought the cattle too to the police station.

While he was in the cell, Sub Inspector (SI) of police Chandrasiri solicited a bribe of Rs. 50,000 (USD 430) to be set free, which he refused.

In the afternoon on November 26, the police showed a statement and forced him to sign it of which Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma did not know the contents. The police also get the signature from Peter Lenus and H.M. Dharmadasa on the statements which they were not aware of its contents.

At 3pm on that day, three of them were produced before the Galgamuwa Magistrates and they were remanded till 6 December 2007 and released on bail. However, the police did not tell him the charges against him.

Please write to the relevant authorities listed below and urge them to take immediate legal and disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrators, who allegedly solicited a bribe from the victim and when refused, fabricated a case and remanded the victims.

The AHRC writes separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for an intervention in this matter.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

SRI LANKA: Police allegedly assault and fabricate charges against three men for refusing to pay bribe

Name of victims:
1) Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma, 54, a Head priest at Bodiraja, Viharasthana, Abagahawela, Suppikulama, Mihinthale, Anuradhapura
2) Peter Lenus, 55, farmer of Pahala Agalawatte, Nikawewa, Moragollagama
3) H.M. Dharmadasam, 50, farmer of Dematogama, Moragollagama
4) Nuhulebbege Mohomaddu Padil (46), farmer (known as Angamuvegama Padilige), Maho, Konwewa, Angomugama
Name of alleged perpetrators: Chandrasiri, Sub Inspector of police and others of the Galgamuwa police, Maho Dist. II, Nikaweratiya Division, North Western Range
Date of incident: 25 November 2007
Place of incident: in the property of Nuhulebbege Mohomaddu Padil

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the alleged assault and fabrication of charges after illegal arrest of three persons by the Galgamuwa police. They are Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma, Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa, and Angamuvegama Padilige.

According to the information received, these persons were in the act of transporting cattle released from slaughter. I am informed that they did not have a proper permit to transport the cattle. However the 15 cattle so transported were temporarily tied in one Angamuvegama Padilige’s property, when the Galgamuwa police arrested Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa and Angamuvegama Padilige. The police accused them that they had brought the cattle to make into meat. Then, they allegedly assaulted Peter lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa and Angamuvegama Padilige.

I have been informed that on the payment of an allegedly solicited bribe Angamuvegama Padilige was released while Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa were put into the police cell.

On the next day, January 26, the Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma hearing of the incident came to the police station to clarify matters.

I have been also informed that the Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma was asked to pay a bribe of Rs. 50,000 (USD 430) by Sub Inspector of police Chandrasiri to be set free. Upon his refusal to pay this bribe Ven. Dodangoda Ariyadamma, Peter Lenus, H.M. Dharmadasa were forced to sign a statement which they were not aware of the contents and produced on 26 November 2007 before the Galgamuwas magistrate on a fabricated charge. They were remanded till December 6 and then released on bail

Therefore I urge on behalf of the victims that you conduct an immediate and impartial investigation and inquiry into the victim’s complaint against the Galgamuwa Police and thereafter take appropriate disciplinary and legal action against the alleged perpetrators.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Victor Perera
Inspector General of Police 
New Secretariat 
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877

2. Mr. C.R. De Silva 
Attorney General 
Attorney General’s Department 
Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436421

3. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
Tel: +94 11 2 395310 
Fax: +94 11 2 395867

4. Secretary
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road 
Colombo 8 
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806 
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470 

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-015-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Corruption, Police violence,