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Torture and loss of faith - ( Case Two)

Stories of the disposed: Illustrations of the break down in the rule of law in Sri Lanka

By Our Correspondent in Colombo

(March 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) On 26 August 2009 around 1am four people claiming to be police came to Chandradasa’s house and ordered the family to open the door. The police told him to take them to another man’s house. Chandradasa knew the man they wanted soobliged. He got into the police jeep and immediately the group of police officers inside– all drunk - started beating him without cause, justification or provocation. Several times they threatened to shoot him and throw him into a ditch.

There was also a civilian in the jeep, Chandradasa recognised him as someone who runs an illegal gambling ring. Chandradasa claims that the other civilian had told the police that he (Chandradasa) knew the fellow they were looking for which was why the police called at his house.

When the police arrived at the house they all jumped out of the jeep and entered the house, leaving Chandradasa alone in the remote location. He hid and later contacted his sister to collect him and take him to hospital. He was in hospital for 17 days. In Sri Lanka a person injured due to an assault cannot leave hospital without a police statement. The police did not provide a statement. He was only discharged after JS intervened to contact the Senior District Medical Officer and the Inspector General of Police.

Chandradasa has filed a case against the police which is still in the primary stage- the police responded by saying he can complain to anyone he wants – they will just shoot him and no one will know.

Chandradasa went to Colombo for a peaceful life. He used to work for a railway company but now works as a farm labourer. Asked what he hoped to gain from pursuing this case he said: “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else in the future. The police have told everyone in the village that I’m involved in robbery- it’s badly affected my name. I will fight on for justice even if it takes 3-4 years but I am still scared that they will do something bad to me. I want them to be put in prison for what they have done”

Asked about his opinion of the police and the Sri Lankan justice system Chandradasa said: “It is not worth talking about the police in Sri Lanka – words cannot describe them – I cannot imagine there is any good person there – even one in one thousand”

To be continued….

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