29 June, 2022


An Open Letter To Sri Lanka’s IGP

By Bijo Francis –

Bijo Francis

Bijo Francis

Re: Complaint about notorious torturer Sergeant Basnayake, Unresolved Crimes Unit, Crime Branch, Chilaw

We wish to bring a notorious torturer to your attention. And, we wish to do so by highlighting two cases, which have incidentally received some public attention, via the media and other sources.

The two cases involve acts of torture committed on Mr. Edirisinghe Devayalage Sanjeewa Edirisinghe, resident of No. 164, Heen Agara, Panirendawa, Chilaw, Puttalam District and Mr. Wathuthantreelage Presly Fernando, who is also from Chilaw.

Torture committed on Mr. Sanjeewa Edirisinghe by a team led by Sergeant Basnayake included:

  • Assault at the point of arrest, in front of his ailing father and other family members;
  • Further assault at the Chilaw police station that involved the application of chili on victim’s sexual organs, eyes, and other sensitive body parts;
  • Hanging from a roof beam and further assault, due to which the victim now suffers from nerve damage in both of his arms, and is unable to use either arm;
  • Urination on the victim’s face;
  • Continuous assault for over three days, which have caused terrible injuries to the victim;
  • Threats of assassination if the victim were to visit a hospital for treatment after release on bail. The victim did not visit a hospital for treatment for a few days as a result; this aggravated his injuries. Later, he admitted himself to the Chilaw hospital. He was immediately transferred to the Ragama hospital, where he was examined and began treatment as an in-patient. According to medical reports, he has suffered extensive nerve injury; a long period of treatment will be needed for him to be able to use his arms again.

Sergeant Basnayake led assault and injury of Mr. Presly Fernando involved the following:

  • Assault at the point of arrest, in front of his wife, who, upon witnessing the assault, fell unconscious and recovered only after treatment. She continues to suffer from a mental breakdown as a result of the assault;
  • Assault at the police station, and in a certain room where he was held, over three days;
  • Assault following hanging from a roof beam, as a result of which the victims suffered damage to a shoulder and is unable to use his whole arm;
  • Further assault with sticks, with boots, and with Sergeant Basnayake sitting on victim’s chest;
  • As a result of the assault, the victim became unconscious. The victim has since learned that even after he lost consciousness Sergeant Basnayake kept on assaulting him;
  • Threat by Sergeant Basnayake that the victim should not avail treatment at any hospital. The resultant fear delayed victim’s treatment of injured shoulder and arm, now taking place at the Chilaw hospital.

In both these cases, the victims have spoken openly about what happened. Their testimonies can be viewed in the following YouTube links:

Sanjeewa Edirisinghe:

Presly Fernando:

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further reports that Sergeant Basnayake has a long record of torture, which he has practiced in his earlier assignments. For example, the torture committed by him when he was attached to the Puttalam police station.

We are writing to you to request the following:

1.  That immediate arrangements be made for the protection of the two victims, under the supervision of a senior police officer.

2.  That the families of the two victims receive immediate assistance. Both victims are persons who work using their physical skills: one as a cycle repairman and the other as a driver. As a result of the torture inflicted by the police, they are both unable to work. Without their breadwinner, the families have been pushed into destitute poverty; they are unable to even feed their children.

3.  That an independent and credible inquiry into the two incidents of torture, as well as on the whole record of Sergeant Basnayake, be conducted, through a special unit of inquiry from the Criminal Investigation Division, under the CAT Act of Sri Lanka, which is Act No. 22 of 1994, and that measures be taken to prosecute this notorious torturer and other members of his team.

We hope that this information provided to you will lead to action from your side, which will result in relief for the two victims and the immediate removal of a notorious torturer, who currently continues to serve as a member of the Sri Lankan police service.

Yours Sincerely,

Bijo Francis

Executive Director – Asian Human Rights Commission

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Latest comments

  • 5

    SL Police like other police forces of developing nations have been using third grade tactics and its the fault of all concerned that they tolerate such stuff

  • 5

    Why transfer the criminals to other police stations? To continue the torture with new victims?

  • 2

    These are matters that the BASL must do free of charge taking the issues to the Supreme Court on FR provisions.

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0

    Recently, I heard that Sri Lanka is in a top place in human rights issues in the World. I do not know who are the idiots in this selection panel or SL government is continuously misleading normal civilians in SL. By hearing this type of news, I am strongly thinking that SL government largely cheating their own people. How many ministers in the Parliament? If any opposition member supports to the government, MR freely gives him or her a minister position like giving from his own Budalaya. I thought after winning the war against LTTE terrorist, MR would make a nice fair country to live peace and harmony. Now he and his relatives became the worst leaders in the history of SL. I am really sad about the innocent civilians in SL.

  • 0

    Thanks Bijo. We need to learn how to live by our constitution and the laws of our land. Please give my regards to my friend Basil…

  • 0

    The culture of impunity continues. The torturers should be in jail.

  • 0


    Prof. Manfred Novak, UN Rapporteur on Torture visited in 2008 and reported that torture was widely prevalent in sri lanka,especially in police stations and prisons.
    Yet torture is even now widely prevalent.
    As torturers were never prosecuted and punished,a sense of impunity has set in,in the police force especially.
    Courts of Law too seem to ignore the problem – when citizens are produced before magistrates with accusations of criminal acts,the magistrates never converse privately with them – as required by law – so as to give them an opportunity to give their version of events.This is a tragic omission by the minor judiciary and should be addressed by the BAR association.
    Even the CJ Mohan Peris accepted what police had told him and said that prisoner Ganeshan Nimalaruban who was beaten to death in Vavuniya prison, was guilty according to his “personal knowledge” of “rioting”
    and refused to allow submissions regarding violations of his human frights.

  • 0

    {ts sad to see how the SL police and other security agencies behaving like worst criminals rather than protecting civilian population. i saw people chained to tables, assaulting suspects at police stations, applying chilly powder and sexually harassing people bought to station those are acceptable to any civilized person. corrupt ministers run havoc showing the power and police is the preferred tool to carry out their dirty work. so do not bullcrap spineless bigwigs in SL police take some action people are the most important asset in any country!

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