SRI LANKA: Police severely torture a young man in custody


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-121-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a young man was arbitrarily arrested and tortured by the Kekirawa police while in their custody on 2 May 2008. The police also forced him into signing a statement, the contents of which were not revealed to him before they finally released him. When the victim’s father filed a complaint against the policemen involved the police refused to take action. Now the victim suffers continuously from bleeding from his nose and mouth.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the testimony by the victim’s sister, Bowattegedera Thanuja Dilhani Wijayaratne)

At about 3pm on 2 May 2008, Sub Inspector Dammika and Sergeant Jayalal, both attached to the Kekirawa Police Station, had taken Malik Roshan Wijayaratne into their custody at the station. He was taken on pretext that he was supposed to identify someone at the station. Malik went to the police station on his motor cycle with Jayalal who sat behind him.

When they arrived at the police station, the officers checked Malik’s motor cycle. When Sub Inspector Dammika came to the place, he suddenly slapped Malik’s face and questioned him about a cassette and a phone that he was not aware of. Then, the officers took him to a place they described as the ‘conference hall’, an empty space inside the police station. There, they forcibly removed Malik’s shirt and tied his hands with it. They bend him over and inserted a wooden pole between his legs and arms. Then they put both edges of the pole on two separate chairs thereby suspending him.

While Malik was in this position, the soles of his feet and body were beaten while. After some time, he fell down to the floor when the shirt that was used to tie him loosened. He remained unconscious from the fall for some time. Then, Sergeant Jayalal poured petrol from a polythene bag he was holding into Malik’s face to awaken him.

Malik, who was already in immense pain at the time, had asked for water from the policemen. The police, however, ignored his plea and forced him to stand up. They ordered him to jump up and down for several times. When he was unable to perform the order, the officers removed his belt and use it to beat his back. The policemen again asked him to run around the said empty space. Malik tried doing what the policemen had asked him to do because he was frightened but he could no longer run.

At 6:30pm, police officers brought him to Criminal Investigation Division (CID) where the police made him sit on a bench. Before going out, they told Malik that they were going out for drink and would be back in few minutes. At the time also, Sergeant Jayalal had slapped him. When the other officers had returned at around 10pm, they ordered him to perform what he has done earlier.

At about 10:30pm, Malik’s mother went to the police station with his uncle to see him. When they arrived, the policemen then ordered them to take him with them on a motorcycle and to leave the police station. But before leaving, the police made him sign a statement, which was already prepared by the police, but the contents of which were not revealed to him.

At 4:30pm on May 4, Malik was released from police without having been produced before the court. Immediately after his release, he was taken to the Dambulla government hospital for medical attention. After the incident, Malik continuously suffers bleeding from his nose and mouth.

On May 11, Malik’s father, B.G. Michael Edward, went to the Kekirawa Police Station to register a complaint regarding the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of his son; however, the police refused to take his statement relating to the police torture in convention of the Police Orders, Section A-3 which reads:

Duties of Officer-in-Charge of Stations –

iv. Members of the public coming in with any complaint, information or other business will be provided sitting accommodation and their complaints or information attended to as expeditiously as possible.


Section C-1 which reads:

Prosecution of Offenders

i. The law requires every investigation to be completed without delay (Section 131) and as the whole object of a criminal investigation is to elicit the truth and place the truth before Court, the sooner the, evidence of the complainant and his witnesses is recorded by the Magistrate the better. If their evidence is promptly recorded there is far less chance of the parties compounding the case or of the witnesses going back on their original statements to the Police owing to the influence of interested parties.

Malik’s relative also submitted a complaint in this regard to the Inspector General of Police, Deputy Inspector General North Central Provincial, Head Quarter Inspector Kekirawa Police Station and other authorities on May 17. They also sent their affidavits to the Chief Justice on May 22.

Please write letters to the authorities listed below urging them to investigate the arbitrary detention without producing before a court and alleged torture.

Please be informed that the AHRC has also written separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for his intervention in this case.

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


Dear ___________,

SRI LANKA: Please investigate the torture of a young man by Keikirawa police and punish those responsible

Name of victim: Malik Roshan Wijayaratne, 22 years old, a resident of No.47, Ihalagama-Kakirawa
Name of alleged perpetrators: Sub Inspector Dhammika, Sergeant Jayalal attached to the Kekirawa Police Station
Date of incident: 2 May 2008 at around 3pm
Place of incident: Kekirawa Police Station, Anuradhapura District, District I, North Central Range

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the alleged torture of a young man subsequent to his arbitrary arrest and detention, which is a violation of the due process by Kekirawa police on 2 May 2008.

According to the information that I have received, when Malik went to the Kekirawa Police Station on the request of Sub Inspector (SI) Dhammika and Sergeant Jayalal supposedly into identify someone at the station at 3pm, the SI suddenly slapped his face and questioned him about a cassette and a phone he was not aware of.

They took Malik to an empty space inside the police station where he was tortured. They had his hands and legs tied using his shirt and inserted a pole between them before hanging the pole’s edges into separate chairs. While in this position, the police officers had severely beaten his sole feet and body. He fell down to the floor when the shirt used in tying him had loosened. He lost consciousness from the fall.

I am also informed that Sergeant Jayalal had poured petrol into Malik’s face in order to awaken him and shortly was forced to jump for several times. They, too, hit his back using his belt they removed from his trouser and forced him to run around the place where they are in. The police officers, after coming back from drinking, had once again ordered him to do the same thing once again. They then forced him into signing a statement he was not aware of its content.

I am aware that although Malik had been released at around 4:30pm on May 4, the policemen did not produce him before the court. He has received medical treatment from Dambulla hospital following his release. After the incident, he has since started bleeding from his nose and mouth. I am also informed that on May 11, when Malik’s father went to the police station to lodge a complaint the Kekirawa police had refused to take his statement.

I therefore urge you to immediately investigate the arbitrary detention and torture of Malik by the Kekirawa Police. Those responsible for torturing him must be prosecuted and punished according to law. Since the Kekirawa police had refused to investigate into the complaint of torture made against their policemen involve, I also urge you to ensure that a credible investigating body should be created to deal with this case.

This case should be dealt with under the CAT Act, Act No. 22 of 1994 and the victim should also be able to receive effective remedies including compensation and rehabilitation. Also, the policemen who had refused to receive the complaint of torture should also impose with departmental or legal action according to the Police Departmental Order.

I finally call upon you to study how the act of torture occurs in normal police station as shown in this case. I wish to remind you that this act of torture would have been prevented in the future if the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators had been effective.

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

4. The Secretary
Human Rights Commission
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-121-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Torture,