SRI LANKA: Serious injuries caused to a 40-year-old man due to assault by police using a T-56 firearm 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-01-2003
ISSUES: Police violence, Torture,

SRI LANKA: Widespread practice of torture; another case of brutal assault by the police



Subasinghe Aarachchilage Nihal Subasinghe (40), suffered serious injuries after been assaulted with a T-56 gun by police officers and was hospitalized. The allegation against Subasinghe is that he has stolen some firewood. In November 200,2 AHRC issued an urgent appeal regarding the case Mr. Lamahewage Lal Meddagoda (36) who was tortured to death after arrest under the allegation of stealing bunch of bananas worth Rs.300 (US$ 3.50) and also several other cases following allegations of petty offences.



– Name of the victim: Subasinghe Aarachchilage Nihal Subasinghe (42), married with 1 child; a cook by occupation

– Perpetrators: Police personnel attached to the Keselwatta Police Station, Panadura, Sri Lanka

– Date of the incident: 22 December 2002

On the 22 December 2002, about 2:00pm, Sergeant Perera, Constable Ajith and Security Assistance Premadasa attached to the Keselwatta Police Station Panadura, who were not wearing police uniforms, arrived by a three-wheeler at the residence of Mr. Subasinghe at 212/1, Namal Mawatha, Rividevgama, Paraththa, Panadura and arrested him for an alleged theft of some firewood and upon arrest assaulted him. The three police personnel have assaulted Mr. Subasinghe with a T-56 firearm. While assaulting they have also tried to suffocate Mr. Subasinghe by trying to squeeze his neck using their hands. After assaulting Mr. Subasinghe, they took him to the Keselwatte police station in the same three-wheeler they came in. While Mr. Subasinghe is being taken in the three-wheeler, they have kept on assaulting him using their hands and the rifle butt.

After Mr. Subasinghe was taken in to the police station, Sergeant Perera assaulted him again and pushed him to the ground and kicked his chest area. Thereafter, Sergeant Perera wrote a statement and got Mr. Subasinghe to sign it forcibly. On the same day about 5:00pm, Sergeant Perera have produced Mr. Subasinghe before the Officer In Charge (OIC) of the police station. The OIC inquired Mr. Subasinghe about his occupation, scolded him and ordered him to return to the police station to cook for them, and released him.

After Mr. Subasinghe returned home, due to the unbearable pain caused by police assaults, he admitted himself to the Panadura Government Hospital about 7:00pm he remained in the hospital undergoing treatment for 6 days and was discharged on the 27 December 2002. However, on the same night his situation got worse and was admitted to the Kalubovila General Hospital. Until 1 January 2002, he has been in that hospital undergoing treatment.

Although there have been complaints made about this brutal assault to the OIC of the Keselwatta Police Station in Panadura, who is the chief investigation officer of the police station, and also to the Inspector General of Police and Attorney General, there have not been any action taken so far against the perpetrators of this act of torture until now.


Please send your appeals to the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Chairman of the National Police Commission of Sri Lanka, expressing your concern at the increasing number of torture in police custody and your desire for action to reverse this trend.




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Re: Subasinghe Aarachchilage Nihal Subasinghe (40); Seriously injured by three officers of Keselwatta Police Station, Panadura, Sri Lanka

I refer to the above case where Subasinghe Aarachchilage Nihal Subasinghe arrested on trivial charges has been so seriously injured due to police assault with T-56 firearm on 22 December 2002. Sergeant Perera, Constable Ajith and Security Assistance Premadasa attached to the Keselwatta Police Station Panadura, who were not wearing police uniforms arrived at the home of Mr. Subasinghe and arrested him and assaulted him near his home, while he was being taken to the police station and inside the police station. He was pushed to the ground and beaten on his chest by Sergeant Perera inside the police station. Later he was forced to sign a statement prepared by Sergeant Perera. Upon release, he was hospitalized for 6 days. On the 27 December 2002 his situation became serious and was admitted to Kalubovila General Hospital. Mr. Subasinghe is still being hospitalized for treatment. Despite of the complaint to authorities no action has been taken as yet.

Large numbers of cases of torture received from Sri Lanka suggests a systematic practice of torture. Lack of any serious action on the part of authorities despite the law against torture (Act. No.22 of 1994) suggest that Sri Lanka's commitment to international obligations as signatories to the UN human rights conventions is not treated with any sense of seriousness. I urge you to take action on this case urgently.

Thank you for promptly responding to this deadly trend.


Sincerely yours,



1. Honorable Prime Minister

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe

Cambridge Place

Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 682905

Email: or

SALUTATION: Hon. Prime Minister

2. Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan

Attorney General

Attorney - General's Department

Colombo 12


Fax: +94 1 436 421

Email: | or |

SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

3. Mr. T. E. Anandrajah

Inspector General of Police (IGP)

New Secretariat

Colombo 1,


Fax: +94 1 446174

SALUTATION: Dear Inspector General of Police

4. Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya PC


National Police Commission

10 A, Flower Road

Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

SALUTATION: Dear Commissioner


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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-01-2003
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Police violence, Torture,