SRI LANKA: A journalist assaulted by police and charges fabricated


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-56-2002
ISSUES: Freedom of expression, Torture,

SRI LANKA: Assault, fabrication of charges by police, and an attack on freedom of expression


– Name of the Victim: Mr. Uvidu Kurukulasuriya

– Date of the Incident: November 15, 2002

– Assaulted by: Police of the Maharagama police station

Uvidu Kurukulasuriya, a journalist from the well known Sinhala newspaper, Ravaya was assaulted by some officers of the Maharagama police station on the night of the 15th November, 2002, as he tried to note down the numbers of policemen beating a couple near the clock tower at Maharagama. The journalist returning home saw the beating taking place, stopped and watched for some time but the beating did not stop.

He then took down his notebook and tried to take down the details of the officers. Then the officers approached him and wanted to know who he was. He said he was a citizen of the country and on request produced the national identity card. The police officer pulled out his shirt pocket and took the papers that included his identity card as a journalist. Shouting that “this fellow (mu) is going to report us”, the police officer abused him. The journalist proceeded to the nearby police station to report the matter and when asked about the officers responsible for the station, he was promptly told that it was they who had been beating up the couple.

Thereafter, the journalist was arrested and taken in a van to a medical docsri-lanka-a-journalist-assaulted-by-police-and-charges-fabricatedtor to test whether the journalist was drunk. The doctor was satisfied that the journalist was quite sober. The charges were then filed against the journalist for trying to obstruct the duties of the police. The journalist has in the meantime filed a complaint with the police against the violation of his rights. He told this story to the BBC Sinhala Service on the 16th November. The police headquarters inspector when questioned by the BBC tried to justify the arrest and the charges.

Despite so many complaints being filed against the police and so many reports by the international human rights groups, the police brutality continues unabated. In most cases assaults are followed by fabrication of charges. Often the victims have to go to court several times before they are released by the court when police are unable to proceed with the case. How vicious can this be was amply demonstrated when not only the victim but also his lawyer was charged in the Ratnapura incident which was subject of an earlier appeal.

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I draw your attention to another complaint of torture this time by a journalist from the reputed journal Ravaya. The incident once more points to the systemic torture practiced by Sri Lankan police, which many international organizations have reported on. What is unique to this case is that the victim is a journalist who happened to pass by a place where two persons were publicly beaten by some police officers.

His attempt to take down the numbers of the police personnel engaged in this act, led to the treatment complained of, including fabrication of charges. The police behavior has thus become a threat to the security of people including those engaged in media work, despite the existence of Act No 22 of 1994, which makes Torture a crime punishable with seven years minimum sentence.

I urge that this matter be investigated and purported be brought to justice.

Thank you.



1. Honorable Prime Minister

Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe

Cambridge Place

Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

Fax: +94 1 682905

Email: or

SALUTATION: Hon. Prime Minister

2. Hon. Mr. K.C. Kamalasabesan

Attorney General

Attorney – General’s Department

Colombo 12


Fax: +94 1 436 421

Email: or

SALUTATION: Dear Attorney General

3. Mr. T. E. Anandrajah

Inspector General of Police (IGP)

New Secretariat

Colombo 1,


Fax: +94 1 446174

SALUTATION: Dear Inspector General of Police

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-56-2002
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Freedom of expression, Torture,