Accountability for Deaths of Citizens in Police Custody - Sri Lanka Guardian


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Accountability for Deaths of Citizens in Police Custody

| by Jayantha Dhanapala and Shanthi Dias
On behalf of Friday Forum

( December 17, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Friday Forum notes with grave concern the curious manner in which four suspects in the Kamburupitiya double murder of a police constable and his wife, have died: the first, where a handcuffed suspect taken to show the police where weapons were hidden, produced a gun and fired at the police and was killed in retaliation; the second, where two handcuffed suspects suddenly jumped into the river in an attempt to flee from the police; and the last where the chief suspect, hiding in the Naigala forest, threw a hand grenade and was killed when police, searching for him, fired in his direction.

This is not the first time that suspects in police custody have been shot in ‘retaliatory fire’ or ‘drowned’. By a "coincidence" this seems to happen particularly when the suspects are accused of killing police personnel.
  • The Friday Forum raises as an issue of public concern, the need for answers to the following questions:
  • Has the IGP ordered an investigation into these killings, to see if police officers involved have followed police protocol and procedures in acting in this manner?
  • Have any police officers been taken to task or faced disciplinary action owing to lapses in investigations in previous incidents of such a nature, in an internal Police inquiry, as opposed to those resulting from Fundamental Rights actions filed by families of the victims through courts?
  • In order to dispel any possible rumours of a cover up and to allay the deep rooted suspicion of members of the public against police action, (or inaction) we urge the Inspector General of Police to not only conduct an independent investigation in to these killings but also to publish the findings, and the follow up action taken when there are errant police officers.