UPDATE (Sri Lanka): Police officers interdicted regarding three torture cases of Gerald Perera, Lalith Rajapakse and Channa Prasanna Fernando


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-01-2005
ISSUES: Torture,

[RE: UP-81-2004: SRI LANKA: Continuing death threats to human rights activists and torture victims after murder of Gerald Perera; UP-77-2004: SRI LANKA: More death threats to a torture victim and a human rights defender; Witness protection is urgently needed, UP-76-2004: SRI LANKA: Gerald Perera died after gunshot; His family needs urgent protection, UP-74-2004:  SRI LANKA: No action from the government to protect torture victim even after attempt on his life, UA-157-2004: SRI LANKA: Torture victim pursuing criminal torture case shot; UP-54-2004: SRI LANKA: Urgent protection is necessary for the torture victim; UA-122-2004: SRI LANKA: Second torture of a torture victim who was kidnapped by the perpetrator issued on 22 September 2004]

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received letters from the National Police Commission (NPC) of Sri Lanka regarding three torture cases, that of Gerald Perera, Lalith Rajapakse, and Channa Prasanna Fernando. We are very happy to share the developments in these cases with you. 
The AHRC thanks you all for your support in the three cases. The recent developments emphasize the Folk School approach that the AHRC promotes-quite and consistent actions will eventually build a movement that can bring about change. We urge you to continue writing and making your voices heard. 

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)



According to the National Police Commission’s letter dated on 27/28 December 2004 to the AHRC, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that has been handling the investigation into the murder of Gerald Perera has arrested and detained Suresh Gunasena, Sub Inspector (S.I.) of the Wattala Police Station, as a prime suspect who masterminded Gerlad’s murder.  The CID is expecting to arrest the gunman who committed the murder and others who are connected with the killing in the “very near future”. 

Meanwhile, S.I. Suresh Gunasena, Police Constable 38237, Nalin Jayasinghe and Perera, Police Constable 9197 who were indicted under the Torture (CAT) Act of Sri Lanka (Act No. 22 of 1994) for the torture of Gerald were interdicted and transferred out of the station they were serving. 

Furthermore, Sena Suraweera, Chief Inspector of Police and Officer in Charge (O.I.C.) of the Wattala Police Station was removed from his post and transferred out to another police station as a supernumerary officer. 

Gerald Perera was shot by an unknown person on 21 November 2004 and succumbed to his injuries on November 24 at the Colombo Hospital, Sri Lanka. He was the torture victim who obtained the highest compensation payout from a Supreme Court decision, and who was the virtual complainant of a criminal case of torture against several police officers formerly of Wattala Police Station. He was due to give evidence in court against the seven police officers accused of torture on December 2. 

[Reference No.: UP-79-2004, UP-76-2004, UP-74-2004, UA-157-2004, MR-13-2002, MR-15-2002, AS-07-2003, UP-47-2002, UP-44-2002] 


According to the NPC’s letter dated on 27/28 December 2004 to the AHRC, S.I. Roshan Prasanga Peiris who was indicted under the Torture (CAT) Act of Sri Lanka (Act No. 22 of 1994) has also been interdicted and transferred out of his present police station. N.D.B. Attanayake, O.I.C. of the Kandana Police Station and first respondent in the Fundamental Rights Application filed by Lalith Rajapakse before the Supreme Court has been removed from his post and transferred out to another police station as a supernumerary officer. Police Constable 31125, Wijeratne has been transferred out of the present police station. All three policemen were responsible for the alleged torture of Lalith. However, O.I.C. Attanayake and Police Constable Wijeratne have not been interdicted as they have not been indicted under the Torture Act and are only respondents of the Fundamental Rights Application.   

The AHRC also has been informed that Lalith Rajapakse, and Uswatta Liyanage Anthony Joseph Perera, the human rights activist who helped Lalith have been provided with “special protection” by the police. 

Lalith Rajapakse has filed a Fundamental Rights Application that is pending and is a virtual complainant in a torture case pending before the Negombo High Court against several officers of Kandana Police Station. He has made many complaints about threats to his life. U.L.A. Joseph Perera is a human rights activist who helped Lalith and consequently received death threats from unknown persons several times. 

[Reference No.: UP-81-2004, UP-77-2004, UP-42-2003, UP-39-2003, UP-27-2003, UP-29-2002, UA-19-2002]


According to the NPC’s letter dated on 27 December 2004 to the AHRC, Police Sergeant 31545 Subasinghe has been interdicted and charged in Negombo High Court for causing hurt and abducting Channa Prasanna Fernando. The case is to be heard again on 7 January 2005. 

Channa Prasanna Fernando was allegedly tortured by Sergeant Subasinghe on 13 June 2004. After the incident, he made several complaints against Sergeant Subasinghe about his torture. He was allegedly kidnapped and taken to an unknown place on 15 September 2004 by a group of people including the said Sergeant who forced him to provide a letter withdrawing the charges against him and a further letter to his mother stating that he was committing suicide of his own free will. He could barely escape from the house where he was kept. 

[Reference No.: UP-54-2004 and UA-122-2004] 

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-01-2005
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Torture,