UPDATE (Sri Lanka): Teenage torture victim wins fundamental rights case


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-017-2010
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Torture,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is pleased to report that a young torture victim has won a fundamental rights case in Sri Lanka. He has been awarded compensation and the case has been duly handed to the Attorney General for action. Although the country has a an anti-torture act such rulings remains rare. 


In 2008 we reported that an officer of the Deniyaya police tortured a 14-year-old boy under interrogation and forced his parents to pay a protection bribe. UAC-113-2008. The boy later tried to commit suicide. 

An investigation by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka concluded this year that the fundamental rights of the boy had been violated under article 11 of the Sri Lankan constitution, and the first respondent, Sub Inspector Wimalakeerthi was ordered to pay him Rs15,000 as compensation. 

This amount is relatively low considering the age of the victim and the AHRC urges that the sum be reconsidered and raised, but it also welcomes the conclusion and strongly supports the actions now being taken by the administration. We look forward to the Attorney General filing an indictment against the officer in the High Court under the CAT Act of No. 22 of 1994, and trust that the Inspector General of Police, as the head of the department, will initiate the necessary disciplinary action in accordance with the establishment code. 

It is still uncommon for victims of torture to file complaints against their police assailants in Sri Lanka. This is largely due to the delays and obstructions they face in the legal system, and the lack of protection they are given against police intimidation. Since the CAT Act came into force in 1994 fewer than 100 cases have been initiated; four have resulted in prosecutions. This win is a small step in the right direction. However the AHRC notes that many torture victims, including those such as Chamila Bandara and Lalith Rajapakse who were in their teens at the time, are still waiting for the system to function in a way that can will allow them just and timely verdicts. 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-017-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Administration of justice, Torture,