SRI LANKA: Another illegal arrest and torture case where a person is declared innocent after severe torture


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-26-2002
ISSUES: Torture,

SRI LANKA: Another illegal arrest and torture case where a person is declared innocent after severe torture


Eric Antunia Kramer, a 43-year-old father of three children, is a welding mechanic for the Ceylon Grain Elevators Ltd., which is located at Rock House Lane, Colombo 15. He has been employed by this company since 1995. The Singaporean-owned Company, which produces poultry food, complained of an attempt to break into the company’s safe by an unknown burglar.

It appears that Eric, a Eurasian, was tortured for two days on May 28 and 29 to determine whether he was involved in this attempted burglary. When the police found out that he knew nothing about the attempted burglary, he was released without any charge being filed.


At about 4:30 p.m. on May 28, 2002, Eric was asked by Mr. Piyadasa, a company security officer, to identify two oxygen cylinders that are used for welding, which Eric did. Two other members of the company, Neil Jayaweera and Stanley Christopher, and a police subinspector from the Mutuwal police station also questioned him inside an office of the company’s security division about how these oxygen cylinders that could have been used in the attempted burglary were found on the fourth floor of the company. Eric responded that he did not know. He was then taken to the Mutuwal police station in a jeep at about 6:00 p.m. and began to be tortured about an hour later.

The officer in charge (OIC) of crimes, the subinspector who arrested Eric and two other officers (who can be identified if wearing civilian clothes) began to torture him. The subinspector beat Eric with a leather belt all over his body except his head, and the OIC of crimes slapped him and kicked him twice. He was then held by his hair and taken near the window from where Stanley Christopher could see that Eric was beaten by all four of the police officers.

Afterwards, Eric was taken to another room by the subinspector and two other officers, told to lay down and beaten on the soles of his feet and all over his body with a leather belt and wooden poles for about two hours. At about 2:00 a.m. on May 29, the OIC of the police had become drunk and put the leather belt around Eric’s neck, tightened it and threatened him: “Tell the truth, or you will be killed.” The next day, May 30, Eric was released by the police at about 9:45 p.m.

On June 3, Eric was taken to the Weralabadda police station where a statement was recorded by a police officer named Perera, and he was kept at the police station overnight. He was questioned by the OIC of that police station at about 10:00 a.m. on June 4. At about 5:00 p.m., this officer called Eric again and told him that he was no longer a suspect in any investigation.

Eric of 489/1, St. Sebastian Mawatha, Katunayake, is still suffering from the torture inflicted on him as he presently cannot walk properly because of the beatings on the soles of his feet and he has heart pains. Consequently, he has gone to a private hospital where he has received medical tests, and the medical investigation is continuing. Meanwhile, Eric has made a complaint to the chief justice and other authorities.


The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has now reported several cases in Sri Lanka that reveal a pattern of using torture as a means to violently try to gather information related to criminal investigations. People are tested about their involvement in crimes by putting them under the test of torture. Eric¡¯s case is a continuation of this trend.

In Sri Lanka, torture is a crime under Act No. 22 of 1994 with a minimum sentence of seven years and is also a violation of a person¡¯s fundamental rights. However, there is no proper investigation system to prosecute people for this crime, and there is no mechanism for compensating victims. After being tortured, people like Eric are simply declared innocent and are left to take care of themselves.

The Sri Lankan authorities must be urged to investigate the common practice of torture that is being employed in the country¡¯s police stations, to take legal and disciplinary action against the perpetrators and to formally notify senior police officers to supervise their police stations. As none of these actions are presently taking place despite many complaints and protests, the Sri Lankan government must be seriously condemned for its failure to protect its citizens and its failure to honour its international obligations.


Please write to the Sri Lankan government and urge them to take the following action:

1. Inquire into this complaint

2. Prosecute the officers involved under the Prevention of Torture Act No. 22 of 1994

3. Pay for the medical costs and provide adequate compensation to the victim

4. Urge them to implement Act No. 22 of 1994 that prescribes imprisonment for seven years for torture.



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


I strongly condemn the torture of Eric Antunia Kramer. The facts of the case reveal an extreme abuse of power and a total lack of compassion towards human beings. I urge that immediate medical attention be provided to this unfortunate victim of torture, that he receive substantial compensation for the damage done to him by state agents and that the perpetrators be prosecuted under Act No. 22 of 1994 that prescribes imprisonment for seven years for torture.

However, this law is not of any use if it is not implemented. The number of cases that have been brought to our notice recently clearly show that the State is not taking strong action against officers who engage in torture.

Thank you for your prompt response to this important matter.

Sincerely yours,



1. Honourable Prime Minister

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe

Cambridge Place

Colombo 7


Fax: 941 682-905 or 542919 (Secretary to the PM)

Email: (Secretary to the PM)

SALUTATION: Hon. Prime Minister

2. Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan

Attorney General

Attorney – General’s Department

Colombo 12


Fax: +94 1 436 421

SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

3. Hon. Mr. John Amaratunga

Minister of Interior

Ministry of Interior



Tel: +94 1 430-860

Fax: +94 1 387-526 or 698 282

SALUTATION: Dear Minister

Also send a copy of your letter to;

1. Mr. Theo C. van Boven

Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the question of torture


8-14 Avenue de la Paix

1211 Geneva 10,


Fax: +41 22 917-9016



2. Secretary

Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

Kynsey Road, Borella, Colombo 8


Fax: +941 694 924


Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-26-2002
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Torture,