SRI LANKA: Rape and murder of a young typing student


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-35-2001
ISSUES: Impunity,

UA-35-2001: Rape and murder of a young typing student

SRI LANKA: Dysfunctional Criminal Prosecutions system enables widespread impunity for serious crimes


A young Tamil woman, Miss S. Umadevi, 23, of Nawalapitiya, Imbulpitiya Estate has been abducted, raped and murdered on the 12th of September at Kopiwatte, Mallanda in Nawalapitiya on her way home after attending her typing class in Nawalapitiya Town.

Miss Umadevi’s parents filed the case with the Nawalapitiya Police on the morning of the 13th September, after exhausting all of their own enquiries as to her whereabouts. The father of the victim stated that the police officer who recorded the complaint gave them an unfavourable reception, she was abusive and not willing to accept their complaint. When she was shown a photograph of the young woman who was missing, the Police officer had said \”This girl must have gone off with some young man. What are we to do with this photo?\” and she put away the photo.

That same evening, the father the of the girl heard that the corpse of a young woman was found in the shrubland near the Malkanda bridge. The father went to that spot and identified the body as that of his daughter. The father informed the police at Nawalapitiya and gave the name of one particular person whom he suspects could have been the perpetrator of this crime, but the Police have not shown any concern about this case and have so far failed to arrest any suspects. The police have not even once visited the home of the victim to investigate into this crime.


The Asian Human Rights Commission has repeatedly pointed out that the Attorney General of Sri Lanka should be held responsible for all prosecutions. We have also said that this responsibility is often waived on the basis that the Attorney General depends on the reports compiled by the police, and if the police do not forward such files, there is nothing that the Attorney General can do. The Attorney General as the chief prosecutor of the country should ensure that enquiries take place for all crimes, and that such enquiries are held in a proper manner. Despite repeated protests, there has been no attempt at all to correct the defective prosecution system in Sri Lanka. So long as that does not happen, rapes, murders, torture and impunity will continue.


Please write to the President, Attorney General and Police authorities to demand that Miss Umadevi’s murder and rape is properly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. In doing so, please ask them to reform the criminal prosecutions system so that impunity like this is not allowed to continue.


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Your Excellency

I have heard of yet another shocking crime in Sri Lanka that has not been properly investigated. This instance is of a young Tamil woman, Miss S. Umadevi, 23, who was abducted, raped and murdered at Kopiwattte, Mallande in Nawalapitiya on 12th September. The police treated the parents with contempt when they reported their daughter missing, and seem to have taken no action since the body was discovered on the 13th September. To date no suspects have been arrested, despite strong leads coming from various family members.

The number of criminal cases that go unprosecuted in Sri Lanka is extremely alarming. It is clear that a system where the Attorney General can only take up cases that police have filed reports on is completely inadequate, especially when the police have been involved in the crime or are not motivated to investigate. I urge you to ensure that Miss Umadevi’s killers and rapists are brought to justice quickly to prevent further crimes and to provide some recompense for the bereaved family. Further, I respectifully request that the Attorney General be empowered and required to conduct independent investigations in all crimes to erase the culture of impunity in such cases.

Yours sincerely,



Her Excellency President Chandrika B. Kumaratunga

Presidential Residence

Colombo 03


Fax: +941 333 703

SALUTATION: Your Excellency

Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan

Attorney General

Attorney – General’s Department

Colombo 12


Fax: +941 436 421

SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

Mr. B.L.V. Kodituwakku

Inspector General of Police

New Secretariat

Colombo 1,


Fax: +941 446 174

SALUTATION: Dear Inspector General

Deputy Inspector General

Police Office

Central Province



Fax: +948 234 337

I.P. Pradeep Ratnayake


Police Station


c/- Fax: +948 252 854


Mr. Fais Musthapa


Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

No. 50, Dr. N.M. Perera Mawatha

Borella, Colombo 8


Fax: +941 696 470


SALUTATION: Dear Mr. Musthapa

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-35-2001
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Impunity,