The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a torture victim, S. Channa Prasanka Fernando (27) was kidnapped and tortured for three days by Sergeant Subasinghe of the Negombo Police who forced the victim to write letters withdraw complaints against him. Previously, the victim had been tortured by the same sergeant on 13 June 2004 in the first instance.
It is alleged that the sergeant attempted to murder the victim. The victim testified that before the sergeant beat him unconscious, the sergeant forced the victim to write a letter addressed to his mother stating that he was committing suicide on his own free will. (See the victim’s photo: Photo 1)
The AHRC calls for your urgent intervention into this case. Please write a letter to the local authorities urging them to provide full protection to the victim immediately.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Name of the victim: S. Channa Prasanka Fernando, 27 years old
Address of the victim: 1012/2, Pitipana South, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Alleged perpetrator: Sergeant Subasinghe (no. 31545) attached to the Negombo Police Station
Dates of incident: 15-17 September 2004
Account of the incident: (Based on the victim’s testimony)
On 15 September 2004 at about 8:30 p.m., when S. Channa Prasanka Fernando left his house to meet his friend living at Munnakaraya, Negombo, a group of unknown people in a white van kidnapped him and put him into the van. They tied his hands and put clothes in his mouth and started to assault him. Some time later, Sergeant Subasinghe of the Negombo Police got into the van and started threatening S. Channa Prasanka Fernando with his pistol. The sergeant said, “Are you trying to play with people in the police? Today I will show you what I can do.” Then he hit the victim’s head with the pistol so he fell unconscious.
When he regained consciousness in the following day (September 16), S. Channa Prasanka Fernando found himself in a lonely room in an unknown place and his hands remained tied and his mouth stuffed with cloths. In the morning, the Sergeant Subasinghe came to the room and severely assaulted the victim forcing him to write letters stating that he would withdraw his complaints against him. When S. Channa Prasanka Fernando continuously refused to do so, he left the victim tied to a bench in the room.
The next day (September 17), the Sergeant Subasinghe returned and brutally assaulted the victim again. S. Channa Prasanka Fernando could not bear fierce torture so he wrote a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police in which was stated that he withdrew his complaints against the Sergeant Subasinghe. The victim was also forced to write a letter addressed to his mother stating that he was committing suicide on his own free will. After this, the sergeant allegedly hit the victim’s head with his pistol and he fell unconscious again.
When he woke up, it was very late at night and his hands were no longer tied or mouth stuffed (with the purpose to show that he was not tortured when found). He pushed hard the door and opened it and ran until he reached a main road. Finally he arrived near a bank where he told a guard what had happened to him. His relatives who learned about the incident came and brought him to the nearby Dankotuwa Police Station where he recorded the statement of the incident. Then the victim was hospitalized at the Negombo Hospital for two days.
The AHRC attaches the victim’s photo in this appeal. (See: Photo 1) Numerous marks on the victim’s body indicate that he was beaten with a cable wire type of an object. The photo also shows that he had marks of being hit with the pistol on his forehead. The victim made complaints to the Sri Lankan authorities about the incidents. A copy of his letter was translated in English and given below.
S. Channa Prasanka Fernando
1012/2, Pitipana South
20 September 2004
Kidnapping and Torture
On 15 September 2004 at about 8:30 p.m. while I was on the way to meet my friend who lived at Munnakaraya, Negombo from my house at the above named address, a group of unknown persons who came in a white van kidnapped me. They tied my hands using the shirt I was wearing, and put cloths on my mouth and assaulted me. Later, on the way the Sergeant Subasinghe, no. 31545 of the Negombo Police got into the van. He then said, “Are you trying to play with people in the police? Today I will show what I can do.” He used filthy words and put his pistol on my head and hit me in the back so I fell unconscious. When I got conscious I was alone in a room, with my hands tied and with cloths on my mouth.
In the morning of September 16, the Sergeant Subasinghe wearing his uniform came to the room and threatened me to withdraw all the complaints I have made against him. When I refused to do so, he got me tied to a bench with my hands downwards and assaulted me in the back.
On September 17 at around noon, the Sergeant Subasinghe came again and assaulted me constantly forcing me to withdraw the complaints made against him. Due to the assaults I agreed to write the letter. I wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police as instructed by the Sergeant Subasinghe including all the numbers of the complaints as mentioned by him, stating that on my own free will I am withdrawing all the complaints made against him and I am reconciling with him. Then I gave the letter to him. I also wrote and handed over a letter at his request to my mother stating that on my own free will I am committing suicide. Then he hit me with his pistol and I went unconscious.
By the time I got conscious it was very dark. My hands were no longer tied. I pushed and opened the door and ran through some fields, came to by road and from there to a main road. Then I came to the Peoples Bank and explained what happened to me to a security officer who was there. Through his mobile phone I talked to my brother. After that, my relatives came and took me to the Dankotuwa Police Station where I got a statement recorded and then I was taken to Negombo Hospital. I was warded at warded no. 6 from September 18 to September 20 and was treated by the doctors. I had so many marks of being hit with a cable wire and marks of being hit by a pistol. My forehead was swollen and was paining.
Before the Sergeant Subasinghe was bringing pressure on me to withdraw complaints, I had made complaints to the Inspector General of Police and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka against him for severely assaulting me in front of my mother at the Negombo Police Station on 13 June 2004. I have complained to the Inspector General of Police and others about the threats and pressures brought by the Sergeant Subasinghe to withdraw my complaints. I think that due to the failure to get complaints withdrawn, the Sergeant Subasinghe has done this, and I believe that there may be other officers of the Negombo Police Station who may be supporting him in doing this.
S. Chhana Prasanne Fernando
Please send a letter, fax or an email to the addresses below and express your concern about this serious case.