SRI LANKA: Senior police assault and fabricate charges against other officers


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-211-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Police violence,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that on 18 August 2008, senior police officers from the Ratnapura Police Station assaulted police officers from another police station while both parties were traveling on the same road. The assaulted officers were taken to the Ratnapura police station where they were assaulted again. Afterwards they were taken to a private nursing home where a false medical report was compiled which was later submitted to the courts. In the meantime, the officers assaulted were dismissed from the police force.


According to information received, on 18 August 2008, Sarath Kumara, a police driver attached to Angunukolapelessa Police Station was returning to Angunukolapelessa after completing his tour of duty at the Esala Perahera in Kandy. He left Kandy at about 9:30am, driving along the Ratnapura Embilipitiya road in Police Cab License No.WP LF 0694. In the cab were the following persons: Police Sergeant Mrs. Hemantha of Hoongama Police and her husband–Police Constable (PC) 28999 Wijesekara of Ambalanthota Police and his 10 year-old son and PC 60787 Malinda, PC 60651 Nalaka and PC 60885 Bogahawatte from Ambalanthota Police.

Enroute at Hiddallana, Ratnapura, Sarath overtook another police cab. This police cab then over took Saratha’s cab. Again Sarath overtook the other cab. And again Sarath was overtaken. Then the other cab blew his horn and signaled for Sarath to stop his cab. Sarath stopped. It was about 4pm.

A Head Quarters Inspector (HQI), a Police Inspector, a Police Sergeant, and a Police constable alighted from the other cab and came up to Sarath’s cab. They removed the key from the ignition, opened the cab door, pulled Sarath out of the cab and started to assault him, all the while reprimanding him harshly using foul language. All of the four officers joined in the assault which took place on the main road and witnessed by ordinary civilian onlookers.  Sarath was given no opportunity to ask the reason for this assault.

The HQI assaulted PC 60651 Nalaka,too, who was in Sarath’s cab. After that they took Sarath and the others to the Ratnapura Police Station. There, they were again assaulted, this time in front of other police officers. The Inspector held Sarath by the neck and pushed him into a police cell, knowing full well that Sarath and Nalaka were police officers. The other police officers who traveled in Sarath’s cab saw all these things and submitted written statements about the incident.

After about an hour and a half, the Inspector who assaulted Sarath took Sarath and
Nalaka  in his cab to a private nursing home. The Inspector told them to stay outside and went inside to meet a doctor known as Deputy Medical Officer Athula Ratnaweera. After about five minutes he came back and told Sarath and Nalaka to go inside and see the doctor. The doctor asked Sarath whether or not he was an alcoholic. Sarath told the doctor he had not taken any alcohol. Sarath told him that they had been assaulted by the police. The doctor however informed him that there were no visible signs of injuries of the assault on them. At this Sarath informed him that he was experiencing severe pain in his ear, neck, head and back where he had been beaten. Taking no notice, the doctor got Sarath to sign a document. Sarath and Nalaka having no power   over this situation were helpless and signed the document, not being informed what the document contained.

At about 9pm on the same day, the Ratnapura Police made an entry in the police book, saying that Sarath and Nalaka were brutally assaulted and got Sarath to sign it. He was then asked to report to the court on 25 August 2008. At about 11pm Sarath and Nalaka were bailed out by Police Woman Sergeant 1664 Mrs. Hemantha who signed for the bail. That night Sarath’s group stayed over at the home of one of Sarath’s friend’s and continued their journey the following morning at about 5am.

Back home Sarath made a statement regarding the incident at the Kuttigala Police Station where Police Sergeant 12477 Wilson recorded it and gave a judicial medical form to the doctor to fill out. At the Kuttigala District Hospital, Sarath received medical treatment for four days. According to the medical report issued, there was swelling around the neck, the lower back and the sternum. It also noted that a blunt weapon had been used to beat Sarath. On August 22, Sarath was discharged from the hospital.

On August 23, when Sarath and Nalaka reported to Angunukolapelessa Police Station, they were informed that their services in the police force had been terminated. On verbal instructions from the officer- in -charge Sarath and Nalaka entered everything regarding the incident in the Police log book.

On August 25, Sarath and Nalaka went to the Ratnapura Magistrate and waited until1pm to be called. As per the clerk at the courthouse, the case was not to be taken up that day. Next Sarath and Nalaka went to meet the Assistant Superintendent of Police Sabaragamuwa. Sarath and Nalaka informed the Assistant Superintendent about all the details of the incident and went back to court. The case was taken up at about 3pm. The false medical report was produced in the court. Sarath was charged with drunk driving, negligent driving, dangerous driving and obstruction of other vehicles (Case No. 2093).  At the court, Sarath also made known that he was beaten by HQI Ratnapura. The case was postponed to August 29.

At the trial on August 29, the accused made a statement to the judge who subsequently ordered Deputy Inspector of Police, Ratnapura to inquire into the incident and report back to the magistrate. It is reported that relevant authorities have started an inquiry into this case. In addition, the Medical Council confirmed that the doctor who noted in his report that Sarath had liquor on his breath, was not registered as a Judicial Medical Officer.


After Sarath and the others who traveled in his cab were taken to the Ratnapura police station, Sarath and Nalaka were taken to a private nursing home. Here a medical report was compiled which was then utilized to fabricate charges of drunk driving against Sarath. It is highly suspect as to why Sarath and Nalaka were not transported to the Ratnapura Government Hospital just I kilometer away from the Ratnapura Police Station. The private nursing home is about 10 to 12 kilometers away. Furthermore, if Sarath was observed to be under the influence of liquor, he should have been tested at the time, at the Ratnapura Police Station, in accordance with normal police procedure.

Please write to the local authorities listed below and demand a thorough investigation into this case and reinstatement of the two police officers.

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

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


Dear __________,

SRI LANKA: Senior police assault and fabricate charges against other officers

Name of victim: 
1. Amarakoon Dissanayakage Sarath Kumara, police driver; resident of No.215, Pahalawatte Hirigalkatuwa, Thungkama
2. Nalaka, Police Constable (PC) 60651
(Both were attached to Angunukolapelessa Police Station, Tangalle Dist. II, Tangalle Division, Southern Range)
Name of police involved: 
1. Head Quarters Inspector Lalith Pussella
2. Police Inspector Wijegunaratne
3. Police Sergeant 17590 Dissanayake
4. Police Constable 25484 Gunawardena
(All are attached to Ratnapura Police Station, Ratnapura Dist I, Ratnapura Division, Sabaragamuwa Range)
Doctor involved: Deputy Medical Officer Athula Ratnaweera
Date of incident: 18 August 2008
Place of incident: Ratnapura Embilipitiya road

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the assault of police officers by senior police officers attached to the Ratnapura Police Station, fabrication of charges against the officers and their dismissal from the police force.

According to the information that I have received, Ratnapura police officers, on August 18, 2008 assaulted two police officers from another police station on Ratnapura Embilipitiya road. They took them to their police station where they again assaulted them. From the police station, the HQI transported them to a private nursing home where a false medical report was compiled and submitted to the Ratnapura Magistrate.  On August 25 the two officers were falsely charged.

I am also shocked that the two assaulted police officers were informed that their positions in the police force were terminated with no reason being given. In addition, the Medical Council confirmed that the deputy medical doctor who examined the two police officers and made a report which was submitted to the court, was not registered as a Judicial Medical Officer. His report stated that the officer drove while being drunk. The officers were not brought to the Ratnapura Government Hospital nearby but to the private nursing home at least 10 kilometers away.  This also serves to demonstrate that the HQI could have influenced the doctor to fabricate the report, which in fact the doctor did.

This case shows how senior police used their positions of power to control the situation by fabricating charges against two police officers in order to show their superiority.  For the ordinary citizen there would be even less maneuverability from this kind of harassment in the fabrication of charges. Their own police colleagues had been witnesses to this highhanded behavior. The court’s intervention in this case is welcomed. By ordering the Deputy Inspector General to inquire into this case and by having other relevant authorities support this investigative position is a step in the right direction.  However, as previous cases have shown, there is little hope for a thorough, impartial investigation due to the continued abuse of power by senior officers.

I therefore urge you to ensure that a complete investigation be conducted, without any interference, so that all relevant facts are revealed and those responsible are properly punished according to the law. I also urge that the investigation uncover the reason and the cycle of events that led to such a simple case being fabricated. In surfacing the causes of this illegal behavior the society will be provided with a way to fight for justice against repeated cases of false charges. I finally urge you to reinstate the two officers who were illegally dismissed.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. C.R. De Silva 
Attorney General 
Attorney General’s Department 
Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436 421

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

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

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

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-211-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Police violence,