SRI LANKA: Extra-Judicial Killing — Allegedly by officers attached to Kalutara South police station 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-12-2003
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings,

This case is about Yoga Clement Benjamin alias \”Rasa\” (47), married with three children, a Catholic and a Tamil of Hillview Road, Pannila, Kalutara South in Sri Lanka. He was shot and killed by the police officers of the Kalutara South Police on 26 February 2003.


Until the month of April 2002, Yoga Clement Benjamin was in the habit of selling illicit alcohol during which time he had given bribes to a Sub-Inspector of Police (SI) Sunil Perera, and several others at the Kalutara South Police station and the officers of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Kalutara Police Station.

He is one of the persons who had been in the business of selling illicit alcohol with the support of the police. In addition to the selling of illicit alcohol, he has had a farm with over 40 pigs and a garage to repair vehicles.

After abandoning the selling of illicit alcohol, he had starting selling vegetables at the Colombo Manin [Vegetable] Market. Even after abandoning the sale of illicit alcohol, the police had not stopped claiming the bribes from him. A number of officers including the Sub-Inspector Perera had been getting pork from him free of charge.

On a day in June 2002, the Sub-Inspector was alleged to have come to request the free supply of pork for a wedding and which Yoga Clement Benjamin turned down. Over this incident there had been an ill feeling developed against Yoga Clement Benjamin by the police. Following this incident Yoga had decided to sell his pig farm.

Consequent to this incident, he and his family have been receiving several death threats from the police. The conflict over the payments of the bribes had also continued for quite some time.


On 5 February 2003, two police officers from the Kalutara South Police had come to collect bribes. When the bribe was refused Yoga Clement Benjamin was beaten by them. The two officers who were in plain clothes were then threatened by Yoga Clement Benjamin and were made to kneel before a statue that was in front of the house.

About 7:30pm of the same day, the Sub-Inspector Perera arrived at his house with a group of persons and threatened Yoga Clement Benjamin. At that occasion the Sub-Inspector called him a \”Dhemalaa\” (a derogatory form of calling a Tamil person) and told him that he will not be allowed to reside there and threatened him with revenge.

At 10:30pm the same day a group of about ten police officers in plain clothes with another Sub-Inspector arrived at Yoga Clement Benjamin’s house. They carried with them swords and wooden poles and arrived in a Fargo van. They broke open the house and abused Yoga Clement Benjami’s wife and the daughter in foul language, destroyed the furniture and took away a golden chain of two sovereigns. They also broke the glass of their wedding photo and took along the picture with them. On the same day, when the wife and the daughter of Yoga Clement Benjamin arrived at the police station to lodge a complaint to the Police Authority, they were scolded, refused to register the complaint and chased away.

On the 7 February 2003, the same group of police arrived at Yoga Clement Benjamin’s home again at 2:30am and entered the house from the back door and threaten the household with death. At 9:30am in the morning a complaint was made to the National Human Rights Commission by the family of Yoga Clement Benjamin.

On the same day, at 2:30pm a big crowd from the police arrived at the house and destroyed all the furniture in the house. At 5:00pm, the police crowd found Yoga Clement Benjamin and hit him with a steel pole. The officer who hit him was then in plain clothes. At that moment, in an attempt to get Yoga Clement Benjamin released from the officer in plain clothes, his son got beaten. This fight resulted in a hand of the officer being broken. When about 40 police officers approached Yoga Clement Benjamin and his family, they fled.

On 9 February 2003 Yoga Clement Benjamin and his family went with Mr. Ninda Mapalagama Godagama, attached to Galle Courts and make a complaint to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

On 19 February 2003 Yoga Clement Benjamin’s son was arrested and detained at the Kalutara South Police on a false charges.

On 21 February 2003 a statement is recorded from him at the Kalutara police authority on the request made by the IGP on 20 February.

On 22 February 2003 Yoga Clement Benjamin got involved in a land dispute with a neighbour and the neighbour went to the Kalutara South Police Station to lodge a complaint. After that about 4:30pm, the police arrived at Yoga Clement Benjamin’s house in the same van of the neighbour. Besides, a police jeep and some vehicles arrived at the scene. On the same day Yoga Clement Benjamin’s motorcycle bearing the number 120-5254 was taken away by the police. It is still kept at the Kalutara police station. Once the vehicles had left the scene, the neighbour had scolded Yoga Clement Benjamin and called him out. When he went out, the police personnel who were hiding in the neighbour’s house came out and shot at him using a firearm. He escaped unhurt. His son was also shot at. After this incident the police had frequented Yoga Clement Benjamin’s house and attempted to arrest him. The police had also searched the neighbouring houses.

On 26 February 2003 he was shot by the police while walking on the road. The explanation has been that the police shot in \”self defense.\” This explanation is totally unacceptable since Yoga Clement Benjamin was unarmed. He has never used a gun. Apparently the pistol of the type \”galkatas\” [a locally made firearm] was placed by the side of the deceased.

It is clear from the chronology of above events that it is a planned extra-judicial killing. Yoga had been killed because of his constant denial to give bribes and provide facilities to corrupt officers. The matter requires immediate, thorough and independent investigation. The officials from Kalutara South Police have already begun to threaten those who might have some information about this incident.


Write to the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police and Chairman of National Police Commission expressing your concern on extra-judicial killing of Yoga Clement Benjamin by officers attached to Kalutara South Police Station, and urging the authorities to take actions to deal with the matter according to law.



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



I would like to draw your attention to the case of Yoga Clement Benjamin alias \"Rasa\", aged 47 years, married with three children, a Tamil citizen; address: Hillview Road, Pannila, Kalutara South. He was shot and killed by the police officers of the Kalutara South Police on 26 February 2003.

The details of this extra-judicial killing are frightening and horrific. Prior to the killing police in a few occasions harassed and assaulted Mr. Yoga Clement Benjamin and his family members. The police have also unlawfully broken into his house, have destroyed property and unlawfully confiscated belongings of Mr. Yoga Clement Benjamin. Given the frequency and use of most cruel forms of torture and extra-judicial killing by the police, Sri Lankan police has not only acquired a name in its barbaric actions, but is making the impression that the government is failing to comply with the constitutional guarantees of rights to the people of Sri Lanka. For prevalence of \"rule of law\" and effective functioning of institutions of administration of justice a thorough, open and independent investigate into this matter is necessary and perpetrators be brought to justice. Sheer barbarity of the act and alleged involvement of a large number of officers is shocking. I urge that the matter is dealt with according to law immediately.

Sincerely yours,


1. His Excellency

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Cambridge Place, Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +941 682905

SALUTATION: Honorable Prime Minister

2. Hon. Mr. K C Kamalasabesan

Attorney General

AG's Department, Colombo 12

Sri Lanka

Fax: +941 436421

SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

3. Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya PC

Chairman, National Police Commission

No. 4 Shavasthi Palace, Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +941 674148

SALUTATION: Dear Commissioner

4. Mr. T. E. Anandrajah

Inspector General of Police (IGP)

New Secretariat

Colombo 1,


Fax: +94 1 446174

SALUTATION: Dear Inspector General of Police

*** Please send a copy of your letter to AHRC Urgent Appeals:

Email: <>

Fax: +(852) - 26986367

Please contact the Urgent Appeals coordinator if you require more

information or wish to report human rights violations.


AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission

Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre,

16 - 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG

Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339

Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367


Please contact the AHRC Urgent Appeals Coordinator if you require

further information or to make requests for further appeals.


To unsubscribe from ua,

Click follow this link:[email]&p=[pin]

Or write an e-mail to and indicate on

the subject: \"UNSUBSCRIBE youremailaddress ua\"

Archives can be view here:

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-12-2003
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings,