SRI LANKA: Torture of 17 Year Old Boy 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-39-2003
ISSUES: Police violence, Torture,

Dear Friends

Brutal Torture of a 17 year old and others, causing permanent injuries; Illegal arrest; Illegal detention for 8 days

Victim: B.G. Chamila Bandara Jayaratne of 166 Godahena, Dolapihilla (17 years old), educated up to 11th grade

Dates of incident: from 20 July to 28 July 2003

Perpetrators: Several Police Officers from Ankumbura Police Station and Gramma Arraksaka

Details: (based on the statement from the victim and his mother)

Around 4.30-5.00pm, the Gramma Arraksaka came to the victim’s house. At the time there was no one else in the house. He asked the victim to come with him. When the victim tried to close the house before leaving, the Gramma Arraksaka took the key from the victim, closed the house himself, and kept the key. The victim was taken to a place where a police jeep was waiting. There, Sergeant Pathnesiri took hold of the victim and gave him several blows, saying, “you have scolded someone who has helped us to catch some thieves.”

The victim was hit hard on the face and the body about ten times. Then he was put in handcuffs. When the victim was taken to the police jeep, he saw one of his cousins, (named Upali) who had also been brought to the place by a police officer. Two of the officers in the jeep were in uniform. One police officer kept the butt of a gun on Upali’s head and said, “you tell the truth, otherwise we will kill him.” One Bandula Pathmakumara, (14 years old), was already in the police jeep. Then they were taken to the Ankumbura police station. They got to the police station at about 6pm. The Inspector of Police Senevirathna held the victim, bent his head, and hit him very hard on his spine. Then he hit the victim on his face with his boots and pushed his head against the wall.

Then the victim was taken to a hall inside the police station, and the handcuffs on one hand were removed and clipped to a bed. The victim was verbally abused in crude language and was told by the same police officer that he, the officer, would come at about twelve and if the victim didn’t tell the truth, he would learn a lesson. The next day (21 July), the officer in charge of the police station came to where the victim was and told him to tell the truth or he would be assaulted. When he said this, the officer who initially arrested the victim was also present.

Then the victim was taken to another place. There was a bed, and the officer-in-charge (OIC) asked the victim to remove his shirt and lie face down on the bed. There were several officers present, including the ones who were there at the time of the arrest. One person, whose name the victim does not know, and who was not wearing a uniform, sat on the victim’s back. Someone held tight onto his legs. Then the OIC and another officer hit the soles of his feet. The OIC hit the victim with a wicket (used in cricket) and the other officer hit the victim with a cane. He was told to reveal the thefts he had done. He said that he didn’t know anything about any theft. Even after that, the victim was continuously hit on the soles of his feet. Then petrol was put into a polythene bag and poured out, after which the polythene bag was tied onto his face. Then he was told that if he didn’t tell the truth, he would be burned. He was hit for about one hour more. He was told to get off the bed and to keep jumping, but because he did not jump high enough, the OIC hit him with a pole. He said that he didn’t know about any thefts. Then the OIC said that no one knew that the victim had been arrested and, called out, “let us kill him.” Then he told the others to hang the victim up.

Then they put the victim’s hands behind his back and tied his thumbs together with a string, then they put a fiber string between his thumbs and hung the victim from a beam on the ceiling. One officer pulled the fiber string so that the victim was raised from the ground. When the victim was raised his hands turned and they became numb. Then the OIC kept hitting the victim on his legs and soles with the cricket wicket. He hit the victim on his thighs, and while hitting me in this manner, he asked the victim who his friends were. Because of the extreme pain he was experiencing, the victim said “One is Roshan Deepal and the other is Salier.” Because of the unbearable pain he said “though I did not do any thefts I am willing to admit anything.” Then he asked the police to cut him down and to untie him. The OIC said “That won’t do. Till you tell us about all the thefts you have done, one by one, we will keep you hanging – we will tie a stone on your legs.”

The OIC asked the victim whether or not he went to remove the water motor at Kahattagusthanna. Then the OIC asked whether the victim had participated in the theft from the house near the Muslim Mosque. Because the victim did not want to get more beatings, he said ‘yes’. Then the OIC asked the victim where he had sold the water motor. The victim said “to the DSI shop at Pujapitiya.” This was not true, because the victim had never done anything like that, but said that he had only answered in agreement because of the pain.

The victim further said that some shirts which he had said had been given to him by his uncle, and a watch he himself had brought, were in fact stolen goods. And there was an incident where one Asaila had given him some jewelry for mortgaging in order to get some money to take his wife to hospital. These and the other crimes the victim mentioned were carried out by the victim. He did them all in an attempt to escape this unbearable situation.

The police officers then told the victim that they would take him to a jewelry shop at Ambagahathanna. He was told that he should say that two rings and a chain had been stolen by him and given to the third jewelry shop. He was taken down, one hand put in handcuffs, and put on a bed. After about half an hour, four police officers put the victim and another person in a jeep and took them to Salier and put Salier also in the jeep. Salier asked the victim why he endured all this and did not say anything. Then they were all taken to Ambathanna. The police pointed towards someone and told the victim to say that he had given the stolen items to him. It was again threatened that the victim would be hung up by one hand. The victim did as he was told. He didn’t know the person at all, but that person was also taken to the police station. This person was put in a police cell and Salier was put on a bed. The victim later learned that Roshan was also brought to the police station. The victim was brought face to face with these persons and asked whether they had also engaged in the robberies. Because of fear, the victim did not dare answer. Also on that day, the victim was handcuffed and told that he could be made a state witness if he said that the other two had committed the thefts. The victim was told not to tell anyone that the police had beaten him up. If a doctor asked, the victim was told to say that his hands got tied to handcuffs and have become numb. The victim was told that if he mentioned anything about the torture, there would be trouble in the future. The OIC said that “everything is in our hands” and “don’t get things messed up.”

On 25 July, one old man came and put ointment on the victim’s hands and Sergeant Gunaseina and another person were present at that time. That night, the victim was put inside the police cell. On 26 July, the same person put ointment on the victim again. That day, they also tied some medicinal herbs on the victim’s hands. On 27 June, Upali, Saman, Salier, Bandula and the victim had their fingerprints taken. After that, they were made to sign in the middle of a page following three or four empty pages. The victim signed as Chamila. At about 6pm they were all taken near to the Ankumbura Hospital and while they waited in the police jeep, police officers went to see the doctor and brought some papers back to them. They were not taken to the doctor.

Later they were taken to the magistrate’s official house, which is near the Kandy lake. The police told the magistrate something and then they were taken to the Bogumbara prison hospital where Salier and Upali were detained. Three others and the victim were taken to the remand prisons at Rajayagahavithiya. Later the victim learned that while he was in prison, his mother had come to see him, but she had not been allowed to see him.

On 30 July the victim was brought to the courts and Nanda Senanayaka, an attorney-at-law, appeared for him. The victim was given ten thousand rupees surety bail. He was ordered to go to the Ankumbura police and sign his name every Sunday. On 31 July, he entered a hospital in Kandy and was under treatment for six days. The doctors told him that a nerve in his left hand had been stretched. He told the doctors that he had been beaten up by the police. His legs were swollen, his hands were numb, and he had headaches. A complaint was made to the hospital police. They asked the victim to go and make a complaint to the Ankumbura police station. This is the same police station where he was assaulted.

Even now, victim cannot use his left arm. The police have falsely implicated him in a case. The date of the next hearing is 20 August 2003.



1 Chandrika B. Kumaritunga
Presidential Residence, Colombo 3,
Fax: +941 333 703

2 Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
Fax: +94 1 436 421
Email: or

3 Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya PC
Chairman National Police Commission
69-1 Ward Place, Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 1 691 926
Fax HOME: +94-1-674-148

4 National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8
Tel: +94 1 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 1 694 924

5 Mr. Theo C. van Boven
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Question of Torture
OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917-9016

and at:

International Relations
Maastricht University
The Netherlands
Tel. 31-43-3883233 (Assistant: Chantal Kuipers)
Email :

6 Mr. Jean Nicolas Beuze
Room 3-052
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Palais Wilson,

Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
tel: 41 229179174
fax: 41 22 9179 006

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


Dear Sir

Case of B.G. Chamila Bandara Jayaratne (17 yrs old)

Brutal Torture of a 17 year old and others, causing permanent injuries; Illegal arrest ; Illegal detention for 8 days by the ANKUMBURA Police

I am writing to protest against this brutal torture of a young person. The case is only one more addition to a cruel practice that is being allowed to go on in police stations. We urge you to investigate, arrest, and prosecute the offenders. Please issue special instruction of arrests, particularly of children. We strongly urge you to discipline the police so that they desist from torture, from the fabrication of cases, and from registering false cases. 

We also urge that the Sri Lankan government provide medical assistance to this young person so that he may have treatment for the permanent injury caused to his left arm as a result of being hung up by his thumbs and tortured. 

Please take some genuine steps to stop torture. 

Yours faithfully


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-39-2003
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Police violence, Torture,