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A man is severely tortured by Pamunugama Police

(February 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr.Suranji Sampath Kumara (35), the driver of a three-wheeler vehicle was severely tortured by three police officers, including the Sub-Inspector of Police, for the request of a private party. The officers tried to fracture his leg and beat him in the face. Mr. Kumara was then illegally arrested and detained at the Pamunugama Police Station. It was only after his detention had begun that the police recorded a false complaint against the victim to add credibility his arrest. Moreover, they forced the victim to sign an amicable settlement agreement, where he was not allowed to dispute his illegal arrest, detention and the abuse he suffered. This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country.

According to information, Mr. Herath Mudiyanselage Suranji Sampath Kumara is 35 years of age, married and a three-wheeler driver by profession. He was stay at No. 226/A Calvery Road, Bopitiya Pamunugama in the Pamunugama Police Division.

On the evening of 1st February 2011, Mr. Sampath was at home. At around 7:30 pm, he heard some people speaking outside his house. At around 9pm, Mr. Sampath contacted Mr. Derrick, another villager and three-wheeler driver, asking him to go for a dinner. Mr. Sampath then waited on the road till Mr. Derrick to bring him for dinner. While he was waiting, another villager, Mr. Chandana Sepala approached him and they had a conversation.

Eventually, Mr. Derrick arrived in his three-wheeler and Mr. Sampath tried to get into the vehicle. Next, three people – two in plainclothes and one in police uniform – pulled Mr. Sampath out of the three-wheeler and began assaulting him with clubs. Mr. Sampath was beaten all over his body, particularly on his right leg and right arm. Then one of the officers is said to have removed Mr. Sampath’s glasses and threw them on the ground, stating that they hoped he would be blinded. This officer is alleged to have punched him in his right eye and his head. Mr. Sampath has identified these people as Sub-Inspector (SI) 20293 and other officers attached to the Pamunugama Police Station.

Whilst beating Mr. Sampath, the two men dragged him about 700 meters up the road to the Pamunugama Police station where they proceeded to lock him up in a jail cell. At the time of his arrest and the early hours of his detention, he was not given any reason for these happenings.

At around midnight of the same day, the officers telephoned the home of Mr. Kumara, another villager and asked his wife to come to the station. Mr. Kumara’s wife, Ms. Rasika came to the police station, and was asked to make a written complaint. She was then asked to report to the police station at noon of the next day.

When Ms. Rasika came to the police station at the stipulated time the next day, Mr. Sampath was brought out of his cell. He was then asked to amicably settle with wife of Mr. Kumara, even though he had not had any disagreement with Ms. Rasika. Then, the officers asked Mr. Sampath to sign a statement that he was not permitted to read. The officers told him that the statement detailed a dispute that had taken place between Mr. Sampath and Kumara, which he says was untrue. Mr. Sampath signed the document, for fear that refusal to sign it would prolong his detention.

After he was released, he went to the office of the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in Negombo, and made a complaint. He clearly stated that he was severely tortured at the Pamunugama Police Station. The officials at this office advised him to go to the hospital for medical treatment. Mr. Sampath then went to the Colombo North Teaching Hospital for treatment. The doctors and a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) who examined him requested that he admit himself to the hospital for further treatment.

Due to the fact that Mr. Sampath was beaten with clubs, he suffered internal bleeding in his right leg and right hand. He also sustained injury to his right eye.

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