Regarding our previous appeal and update on the case of two people tortured to death at the same police station in Sri Lanka (see http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2002/379/ and http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2002/380/), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that the initial investigation into the death of a young man, which was conducted by a special police team for the Gampaha police, has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Dept. (CID) for further inquiries.
The two incidents in which one man in his 30s and another in his 70s died after being taken into custody by the Kirindiwela police prompted people in the Kirindiwela area to hold demonstrations against alleged police brutality. The deaths occurred on Oct. 20 and Nov. 20, 2002, respectively. The two suspects had been arrested on charges of burglary and the sale and possession of illegal alcohol.
According to the initial report from the Gampaha police station, the young victim had been an army deserter who is alleged to have been involved in approximately 16 incidents of burglary and theft in the Kirindiwela area. The police said, “The investigation team is treating the first death as a homicide in accordance with the magistrate’s findings. It has now been handed over to the CID for probing, and the police party connected to the arrest, including the OIC [officer in charge] of the Kirindiwela police, have been transferred to the Peliyagoda police station in view of an impartial inquiry. If the need arises, the police personnel involved will be taken into custody.”
Regarding the second death, the hearing has been postponed by the Pugoda magistrate until Dec. 23 because the medical evidence is scheduled to be recorded on that day.
AHRC has expressed extreme concern about the widespread use of torture in Sri Lanka for long period of time and has urged the government of Sri Lanka to take concrete steps to stop these inhumane crimes committed by the police. Therefore, AHRC has closely followed the investigation and the Sri Lankan government’s treatment of these two cases.
Thank you for your attention to these two cases.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission
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