The Asian Human Rights Commission has launched an urgent appeal, calling for an independent investigation into the extrajudicial killing of an individual who was detained in the Ja-El Police Station.
The victim – Sameera Dhananjaya Pathirana (39) -father of a young child had been illegally arrested on March 17 and had later been admitted to the Ja-Ela Government Hospital by the Police due to his ill-health. However upon admission the doctors had pronounced him dead.
The Police have said that he used his trousers to make a noose in order to hang himself in the cell.
“This case is symbolic of the crisis that faces the Police Force of Sri Lanka. The lack of accountability and professionalism has allowed extrajudicial punishment and torture to become standard,” the AHRC notes while pointing out that the protection of all arrestees and detainees is vested with the Officer in Charge of the Police station under the Departmental Orders of the Police Department, who are to be supervised by the ASPs.
However the AHRC has reiterated that it is the ASPs who are ignoring their responsibilities and DOs and as a result the innocent detainees have been paying for it with their lives.
“By ignoring their duty the ASPs and OICs have encouraged the systematic torture that prevails in Sri Lankan Police stations and extrajudicial killings committed by law enforcement officers. Continual and flagrant violations of the laws have encouraged the existing practice of impunity in Sri Lanka,” the AHRC states while adding that in order to stop these heinous crimes, once a credible independent investigation uncovers how and why such events take place, effective reforms must be brought into force.