SRI LANKA: Man mercilessly beaten by the Teldeniya police who then threatened him should he seek help from the human rights community 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-157-2006
ISSUES: Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has come to learn of an appalling case of police brutality and torture of a man whom they accused of having stolen goods. When the man repeated to deny having done so, they tied his arms and legs together, hung him from a pole and beat him mercilessly. The police eventually freed the victim but warned him of dire consequences should he seek the assistance of a human rights organisation. The victim now lives in constant fear.

On 29 April 2006, Mr. Thilakarathana and his wife were to travel by bus to Kandy along Teldeniya Road. Mr. Thilakarathana and his wife got onto a private bus at Teldeniya. As they were sitting down, Mr. Thilakarathana noticed that two men dressed in civilian clothing had also boarded the bus and were asking for him, in order to make some inquires. Upon hearing this, Mr. Thilakarathana got up and went to speak with these men, who informed him they were police officers. After which, he told the police officer that after letting his wife know of the situation, he would accompany them to the police station. The policeman responded that he was not to do this, and then escorted Mr. Thilakarathana to the Teldeniya police station, it was approximately 11.00am. While being escorted, the police officer told Mr. Thilakarathana, “You know what you have done; you have broken into four boutiques in Teldeniya and stolen goods including potatoes, dahl and soap. Where are you keeping these things?”  Mr. Thilakarathana responded that he did now know of anything concerning this matter. He protested his innocence, stating that he never broke into a boutique and stole anything. He continued that on the days in question from April 11 to April 17 he was staying in Maiyangana, Bebella and therefore could not have done the act in question.  The police officers failed to respond, and continued to escort Mr. Thilakarathana to the police station; the time was now approximately 11.15am.

Upon arriving at the station, Mr. Thilakarathana was taken to the Crime Branch of the police station, and subsequently into the office for SI Rasika. As Mr. Thilakarathana was being taken into SI Rasika’s office, he noticed that in the corner of the room there were batons, and coconut strings which are used for tying objects. The police officers proceeded to pick up these objects and commented, tell the truth or we are going to beat you. Mr. Thilakarathana again told the officers, that he did not know anything, that he had not done anything and was innocent.  Upon entering the room, the officers scolded Mr. Thilakarathana with obscene words, whilst attempting to tie his two thumbs together with the coconut string.  However, due to some difficulties they were unable to do it, therefore the officers then decided to tie together Mr. Thilakarathana’s hands and legs. The officers in addition put handcuffs on Mr. Thilakarathana, before he was then hung by his legs from the ceiling.

At this time, there were about four or five police officers in the room. All of the officers then proceeded to kick and hammer Mr. Thilakarathana all over his body while he was suspended from the ceiling. Mr. Thilakarathana was shouting for help and yelling that he was innocent. The police officers ignored these cries and continued to beat Mr. Thilakarathana. After sometime, the officers proceeded to remove all of Mr. Thilakarathana clothes whilst he was suspended, and then continued to beat him. During the beating, the officers told Mr. Thilakarathana that unless he told the truth that they would kill him and throw him into the Victoria Resevoir, and that they could do this as there were no witnesses. Everywhere Mr. Thilakarathana was paining and felt damaged, but again and again they continued to ask him to tell the truth.

After sometime passed, the officers then took Mr. Thilakarathana down from the ceiling.  They then took a big wooden rod, and placed it in between Mr. Thilakarathana’s still tied legs and arms, before suspending the rod between two tables. The officers proceeded to then beat the soles of Mr. Thilakarathana’s feet with a blunt instrument, causing him to lose consciousness momentarily. He was not sure what was going to happen to him but eventually the beating stopped.

Later on, the officers untied Mr. Thilakarathana’s hands and legs, after which two officers picked him up by the hands and asked him to walk. However, at this time Mr. Thilakarathana had no strength and was unable to put any weight on his legs. Therefore he was asked to sit on the chair in the room.

At about 2.30pm, Mr. Thilakarathana was taken out of SI Rasika’s room into the general Crime Branch area. Here, SI Rasika was present, and he proceeded to tell Mr. Thilakarathana that he knew Mr. Thilakarathana took drugs, and that he knew how to get the truth from him. SI Rasika continued that if he gave Mr. Thilakarathana drugs he would then tell the truth. SI Rasika continued that he had worked in Colombo and could get the truth from drug users by beating them and providing them drugs; this is what he was going to do to him. SI Raskia then told Mr. Thilakarathana what was going to happen, he explained that at 10pm that evening he would take Mr. Thilakarathana into his room and provide drugs to Mr. Thilakarathana if he gave the truth. During this time, there was another female police officer present, Mrs. Allakoon who following SI Silva’s proclamation, commented to SI Raskia why you are waiting, give him some drugs now and get the truth. SI Raskia then kicked Mr. Thilakarathana, causing blood to flow from his mouth. After which, Mr. Thilakarathana proceeded to fall onto the floor unconscious. At about 7pm, he regained consciousness, to find himself in a jail cell covered in blood.

Early the next day, (April 30), some officers came to the cell again telling Mr. Thilakarathana that they wanted to conduct some inquires. After which, they took him into SI Silva’s room. Here, the officers recorded some details down, but the officers never asked Mr. Thilakarathana anything. The officers then asked Mr. Thilakarathana to sign the document, telling him that they wanted to take him to the Courts, so not to worry just to sign.

At about 9am the officers took Mr. Thilakarathana to the hospital. Mr. Thilakarathana was feeling very sore, tired and in pain. At the hospital, Mr. Thilakarathana asked a Doctor to provide some medication for his pains. However, the Doctor did not provide any medication, or conduct any examination, but gave the police a report. Mr. Thilakarathana was again taken back to the police station, having not received any treatment at the hospital. Upon entering the station, Mr. Thilakarathana saw his wife was seated in a chair, however he was taken straight to a jail cell.  After this, Mr. Thilakarathana’s wife managed to meet with him at the jail, where he proceeded to tell his wife of the police’s treatment.

At about 2pm, the police officers came to take Mr. Thilakarathana to a senior officer’s room. Inside the room, the Senior Officer proceeded to tell Mr. Thilakarathana that he was not to go to the human rights community, for the police were not going to file a case against him. The officer continued, that if Mr. Thilakarathana went to the human rights community, that they would again remand him and keep him for fourteen days. The officer then told Mr. Thilakarathana that he would now be sent home, but again reiterated that he was not to talk to anybody about the incident. After meeting with the Senior Officer, Mr. Thilakarathana went home with his wife, at about 2.30pm.

Mr. Thilakarathana did not go to the hospital to take any treatment after being released, due to fear that if he went to the hospital, the Doctors would ask questions, and he would have to tell the truth of what the police had done to him. At the same time, Mr. Thilakarathana has sought treatment from the village Doctors.


Please write immediately to the suggested authorities below. It is imperative that an intervention is launched quickly in this case owing to the continued risk the victim faces for having dared to report this matter. Those police allegedly responsible for this crime must be stood down immediately or transferred to another area. Their conduct must then be looked into and if it is established that they did commit crimes against the victim, then full legal action must be taken against them. During this time full and proper protection must be provided to the victim and his family.



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Dear ___________,

SRI LANKA: Man mercilessly beaten by the Teldeniya police who then threatened him should he seek help from the human rights community

Name of victim: Kodey Thuwaku Walter Thilakarathana, resident of No 18, Dunhinna, Werapitiya, Sri Lanka
Name of alleged perpetrators: SI Rasika, Police officer Allakoon, and other police officers attached to the Teldeniya police  
Date of Incident: 29 to 30 April 2006

I write in dismay at the continued level of brutality we are seeing by members of the Sri Lankan police force towards persons they believe to have committed crimes. Rather than questioning the persons and investigating their alleged crimes, the Sri Lankan police believe it acceptable to brutally beat confessions out of people, regardless of whether they actually committed a crime or not.

In this latest case, Mr. Thilakarathana was detained by police officers who took him from a bus and accused him of having broken into four boutiques in Teldeniya and stealing items from there. Despite the victim informing the police that he did not break into the boutiques or steal anything, and was in fact in another town when the thefts alleged happened, the police ignored this and took him to the Crime Branch of the Teldeniya police station, and subsequently into the office of Superintendent Rasika. After once again denying any involvement in the theft, the victim then had his arms and legs tied together and was hung from a pole. Following this, the victim was mercilessly beaten by police officers at the station who continued to demand that he admit to the theft. 

SI Rasika then threatened to forcibly feed drugs to the victim saying that this would get him to confess. The victim was also told that he would be killed if he did not confess to the crime and that no one would ever know what happened to him.

After being detained over night and having lost consciousness, the victim was forced to sign an unwitnessed statement. He was then taken to hospital and was seen to by a doctor. However, the doctor would not prescribe him any medicines for the pain he was in, nor did the doctor conduct any examination.  After being returned to the police station and detained for some further time, the victim was taken to the Senior Officer’s room where he was threatened not to go to the human rights community upon release. He was also told that should he seek the human rights community’s help in gaining justice in this case, that they would remand him again and detain him for a further 14 days.

Since his release, the victim has been too afraid to seek proper medical attention in case the doctor should report his injuries. He has now come forward to tell his story however, as he fears for his life regardless of if he reports the matter or not.

I trust that you will be as equally appalled by this case and will do your utmost to ensure that justice is achieved for the victim. The conduct of those police officers alleged involved in this case must be investigated and full legal action taken should the allegations be found true. During this time, the police officers must be removed from their positions so that they are unable to influence the investigation or bring threat to the victim and his family. To further avoid this, full and proper protection must be provided to the victim and his family.

I ask that your intervention is forthcoming prior to any further threats being made against the victim.

Yours sincerely


1. Mr. K. C. Kamalasabesan 
Attorney General 
Attorney General's Department 
Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436421

2. Mr. Chandra Fernando
Inspector General of Police (IGP) 
New Secretariat 
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877

3. Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka 
No. 36, Kynsey Road 
Colombo 8 
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806 
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470 

4. Mr. J Thangawelu
DIG Legal
Police Headquarters
Colombo 1
Fax: 94 11 2381 394

5. National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
Tel: +94 11 2 395310 
Fax: +94 11 2 395867

6. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka
C/- Office of the President
Temple Trees
150, Galle Road
Colombo 3
Fax: +94 11 2472100 / +94 11 2446657 (this is contact for Secretary to President)  

7. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Mr. Safir Syed 
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 917 9016 (general)

8. Ms Leila Zerrougui
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Attn: Mr Miguel de la Lama
1211 Geneva 10

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-157-2006
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Torture,