The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of a 20-year-old man by the Galaha police. He was severely tortured despite his defence lawyer’s request to the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) not to torture his client in the process of their investigation. In addition, the Magistrate Court also allegedly did not consider the victims allegations of torture despite observing the wounds he had suffered.
At 1:50pm on 9 August 2007, Meera Mohideen Gafar was accompanied by his lawyer, Kularatna Bandara, when they went to the Galaha Police Station. The Assistant Superintendent of Police had earlier summoned Meera Mohideen and his uncle, Abdul Kader, to inquire into a murder case that took place at the end of July 2007.
Meera Mohideen was handed over to a female police inspector, Ranasinghe. His lawyer, Bandara, then requested the OIC of the CIB, Mr. Talwatte, to question his client properly and without using violence. But when Meera Mohideen’s father visited him later at the Galaha police, he discovered that his son had been severely tortured. On following day, he immediately informed his son’s lawyer by phone. It is learned that the police officers brutally tortured him by hanging him from the ceiling allegedly inside the Galaha Police while he was being interrogated.
Upon learning that his client had been tortured while in police custody, Bandara immediately informed the OIC Mr. Talwatte about the torture his client had suffered, but he instead denied it; effectively exonerating his men without conducting any investigation.
On August 10, Meera Mohideen was taken to the Kandy Magistrate Court. While being presented by the police, he stated that he had been severely tortured by the officers on the evening of August 9. He revealed the wounds to his legs and mouth. He could not even walk when he appeared to the court because of his injuries. But nevertheless the Magistrate Court remanded him on August 16 and is presently detained in prison. No medical examination has been conducted to verify the torture. No further investigation was likewise made into his supposed involvement in a murder case to which he maintained his innocence.
In the meantime, the victim’s family and the lawyer has informed the Human Rights Commission (HRC) hot line in Colombo about the torture and also lodged a written complaint with the HRC of Kandy registered at (HRC/K/S/T/89/ⅱ). A similar complaint was also filed with the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in Kandy.
This is yet another case of torture perpetrated by the police in Sri Lanka to which the AHRC has reported. As described in our recent appeal UA-240-2007, a man died while in police custody when he was brutally tortured following his arrest. Before he died, he was able to tell a friend the police were torturing him. Later he was found dead inside his detention cell. But the police, however, reported he had committed suicide. No further investigation was conducted into the allegations of torture.
In another case UA-247-2007, the police did not take action into the complaint of a man who was allegedly tortured by a police officer. The victim, who is a local council member, was inquiring into the perpetrator’s alleged illegal business activities when he was confronted and subsequently tortured. This case illustrates a systematic and routine used of torture and inhumane treatment by the Sri Lankan police as a method of their investigation and punishment.
Please write to the local authorities listed below demanding that a thorough investigation into the alleged torture of the victim is conducted. Appropriate action must also be taken against the police officers allegedly involved in accordance with the Sri Lanka’s Convention against Torture (CAT) Act. No 22 of 1994. The victim should be released unconditionally if there are no sufficient evidence against him, or if found that the evidence against him is taken by way of torture.
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER
SRI LANKA: Brutal torture of a 20-year-old man by Galaha Police
Name of victim: Meera Mohideen Gafar
Name of alleged perpetrator: Office-in-Charge (OIC) of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), Mr. Talwatte, Police officers attached to the Galaha Police, Kandy
Place of incident: Galaha Police Station, Kandy Division
Date of incident: 9 August 2007
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the torture of a 20-year-old man, Meera Mohideen Gafar, allegedly by the Galaha police on 9 August 2007.
According to the information received, on August 9, Meera Mohideen went to the Galaha police station after he and his uncle, Abdul Kader, were summoned by the Assistant Superintendent of Police. Meera Mohideen came to the police station together with his lawyer, Kularatna Bandara. The police were inquiring into a murder case that took place sometime at the end of July in his town.
I am informed that when Meera Mohideen was turned over by his lawyer to a female police inspector, Ranasinghe, at the Galaha Police station. The lawyer had asked the Office-in-Charge of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), Mr. Talwatte, not to torture his client in conducting their investigation. I have learned though that when the victim’s father visited him later, he discovered that his son was allegedly already been brutally tortured by the police officers. He was hang to a ceiling and could not even walk when taken to the Magistrate court. When Bandara informed the OIC Mr. Talwatte regarding the torture of his client the former have instead denied it occurred without conducting investigation.
On 10 August, Meera Mohideen was produced before the Magistrate court. He had informed the court that he was severely tortured by police officer attached to the Galaha police. He had also shown his wound to his leg and mouth to them. However, the torture by the Galaha police officers was not taken into account by the Magistrate. The Court, however, remanded him on August 16 and is presently in prison.
I am also informed that the victim’s family and the lawyer had already informed the Human Rights Commission (HRC) hot line in Colombo about the torture. They have also lodged a written complaint about the police torture with the HRC of Kandy, which is registered at (HRC/K/S/T/89/ⅱ). Similar complaints were also made to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Kandy. I am unaware however of any substantial progress, if there are any, regarding these complaints filed before them.
I also urge you to ensure that the victim is properly treated and rehabilitated from the torture he had suffered. He must be released unconditionally if there are no sufficient evidence against him. I am seriously concern by the police’ use of torture as a method of their investigation that could result to wrongful prosecution of the victim in court. I urge you to ensure that these are investigated and that appropriate action are taken on this matter.
I have also learned the policemen involved have not been investigated nor imposed with sanctions. The OIC of the Galaha police station have instead denied the allegations against his men without subjecting them to investigation to answer the allegations against them; thereby effectively exonerating them from the victim’s allegations. I am deeply concerned by the police’ actions to exonerate his men in absence of a credible investigation. I urge you to ensure that the victim’s allegations are acted upon in accordance with the Sri Lanka’s CAT Act. No 22 of 1994.
Furthermore, I urge you to ensure that the Sri Lankan government, as State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), ensures that torture victims are afforded with remedies. It should also ensure that its domestic law against torture are effectively implemented.
I look forward to your real and constant action into this matter.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:
1. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG)
Central Range – West
Tel: +94 81 2234288
Fax: +94 81 2223227
2. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)
Tel: +94 81 2222228
Fax: +94 81 2233004
3. Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP)
Tel: +94 81 2374048
Fax: +94 81 2374048
4. Mr. Victor Perera
Inspector General of Police
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877
5. Mr. C.R. De Silva
Attorney General’s Department
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
8. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 917 9016 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR TORTURE)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (email@example.com)