UPDATE (SRI LANKA): Court orders Release Of Lalith Rajapakse


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-29-2001
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Institutional reform, Police violence, Prison conditions, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear Friends 

Following is an update with some progress on the case of Mr. Lalith Rajapakse, a torture victim in Sri Lanka. We are not requesting any further action at this stage, but we may request this in the near future is there is no positive action for his state of health and the prosecution of the responsible police officers. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 

The 19 year-old man who was seriously injured and remained in an unconsious state for 15 days due to torture by the Kandana police, Mr. Lalith Rajapakse, was released by the Magistrate on personal bail after submissions made by Basil Fernando and Sangeewa Wijewicrama, Attorneys-at-Law, to the Magistrate on 16th May. 

The Magistrate found it surprising that an order for detention of the torture victim was made without even producing the victim before the acting Magistrate. Though the Magistrate tried to contact the police at Kandana police for an explanation, no officer was present to make any response. 

Basil Fernando stated to the court that Lalith Rajapakse was arrested at night on 18th April while sleeping at a friend’s house. He was hit on the forehead with a boot by one officer and also with the wodden handle of an axe and taken to Kandana police station. Next morning he was still well and was able to eat. On the night of the nineteenth he was beaten severely on the foot and bathed. Later books were placed on his head and the books hit with wooden poles, after which he fell unconscious. He was kept in this unconscious state in the police cell until his grand-father discovered him in that state. It was only after the grand-father sought the help of a local politician that Mr. Rajapakse was sent to hospital. 

Mr. Fernando also told the court that two major police crimes are in involved in this episode: one of attempted murder and one under the Elimination of Torture act, Act. No 22 of 1994. 

The Magistrate ordered the relaese of Mr. Rajapakse on personal bail and ordered the Commissioner of Prisons to produce him in court the following day, 17th of May. 

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Asian Human Rights Commission 
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