UPDATE (Sri Lanka): The trial of a three-wheeler driver lags; his allegations of torture are not investigated


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-028-2010
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Police violence, Torture,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission would like to report that the case of a three-wheeler taxi driver charged with carrying drugs – which he claims were found in the possession of his passengers – is being continually stalled by police in the Maligakanda Magistrate’s court. The man remains in remand, unable to afford bail, and tried to commit suicide twice last year. His trial must be expedited and his allegations of torture investigated as soon as possible. 


Three-wheel taxi driver, Upul Palitha Mawalag, was arrested along with his two passengers in May 2009 during a routine search by Bluemendhal police. Mawalag has since been charged with drug possession. The victim reports that the passengers had been found with the drugs, but were inexplicably released. We are told that the officers first claimed that Mawalag carried drugs in the back of his vehicle, but the details of case B6425, filed in the Maligakanda Magistrate’s court, state that he carried drugs in his pocket. Please read more in the original appeal in August 2009: Police torture a taxi driver for the drug crimes of his passengers 

We are informed that his case has been routinely postponed by the request of the prosecution and that bail took until January 2010 to be awarded. This is largely because the bail application needed to be filed in the Court of Appeal in Colombo, with the assistance of a Colombo lawyer, which was paid for by an NGO. However the detainee has since been unable to post the Rs.150,000 bail. We urge that his trial is credibly taken up and expedited. 

We are also told that there has been no investigation into Mawalag’s allegations that he was stripped naked, tied to a chair and beaten severely with a stick by officers in a bid to force a confession, nor into his attempted suicides. This is strictly and urgently necessary, and should torture be proven to have been involved in the investigation, he should be immediately released. 

We have written to the Inspector General of Police, reminding him of this case. To lend your support, please use and adapt the letter attached to the original appeal: UAC-093-2009 .


Thank you. 

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

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-028-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Administration of justice, Police violence, Torture,