16 June, 2019

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Father, Mother & Son Killed In Retaliation For Filing A FR Against Police

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Deterioration of the legal intellect – Part (2) Father, mother, and son killed in retaliation for filing a fundamental rights petition against five police officers

Geekiyanage Premalal De Silva filed a Petition in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1989 alleging that some officers of the Panadura Police arrested him in May 1989, without a warrant, on a false charge of robbery and that he was tortured and subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment while in custody.

In September 1990, the Court delivered a judgment confirming the arrest of De Silva as alleged by him. The judgment held that no cogent evidence had been produced by the respondent police officers to justify suspicion against De Silva and that his detention following arrest, without producing him before a Magistrate as required by Section 36 and 37 of the Criminal Procedure Code, was unlawful. It also confirmed that while in police custody De Silva was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment and that the 2nd and 3rd Respondents had been adequately identified as police officers involved in De Silva’s arrest and the subsequent violation of his rights and that by such acts the officers had violated Article 13(1), Article 13(2), Article 13(4), and Article 11 of the Constitution [Premalal De Silva v. Inspector Rodrigo and others, SC Application No 24 /89].

BFThe Court held that the two police officers, named as 2nd and 3rd Respondents, and the State are jointly and severally liable to compensate the Petitioner. However, then the Court made the following unusual order: “…if the Petitioner has disappeared the compensation is payable to his legal representative….”

While the Supreme Court was considering the Petition, the police officers arrested De Silva. They arrested him when he went to sign the Police Book, as required by the Order of the Magistrate. Thereafter, De Silva disappeared. When De Silva did not return home after several hours of his visit to the Panadura Police Station his father went to the Police Station to look for him. Thereafter, De Silva’s father also disappeared. A short time after the father’s visit to the Police Station, the mother of De Silva went to look for both of them. She too disappeared.

Thus, as revenge against a complaint being lodged by De Silva, De Silva himself, his father, and his mother were made to disappear, and they remain disappeared to this day. In other words, they were illegally arrested, killed, and their bodies disposed of in secret.

The very same day, when the three members of the family had been subjected to this treatment, a group of police officers also came looking for De Silva’s younger brother. The younger brother managed to escape by giving a false identity and thereafter went into hiding. Today, De Silva’s younger brother is the sole survivor of the family.

This triple disappearance in revenge of a complaint made by a citizen against illegal arrests and torture by police officers showcases the absence of redress for human rights abuses suffered at the hands of security officers in Sri Lanka. By way of severe reprisals, the complainants are intimidated and thus discouraged from making complaints against security officers.

The name of the petitioner in the fundamental rights case was Premalal De Silva; the name of his father was Jinson De Silva, the name of his mother was Greta De Soyza. While Premalal had filed the fundamental rights petition, his father and mother had submitted affidavits affirming that they have visited the Petitioner while he was in the custody at the Panadura Police Station.

In his Petition, Premalal complained, among other things, of being taken into a room by five police officers and treated in the following way:

“… he was taken tied up in a crouched position with his hands over his knees and suspended on a pole passed through his hands and knees. The two ends of the pole were placed on two tables. The 3rd respondent then rotated him and the 2nd respondent struck his soles with an iron rod. The 4th respondent too assaulted him with the iron rod. The 3rd respondent walked on his body and kicked him. At the same time, they questioned him about a robbery said to have been committed with one Sisira at a cigarette agency. One Sisira was brought in and the police questioned him as to whether the petitioner is the other person who joined in the robbery to which Sisira answered in the negative. As a result of the assault, he sustained injuries on his hands and legs….”

The Judicial Medical Officer’s Report indicated 11 injuries and the Officer reported that the injuries were consistent with the history given by the Petitioner. It was after the examination of all evidence in the case that three judges of the Supreme Court – Kulatunge J, H.A.G. De Silva J, and Dheeraratne J, concurred that the arrest of the Petitioner was violative of his rights under Article 13(1), that his detention was violative of Article 13(2) and 13(4), and that the Petitioner had been subjected to torture and inhumane treatment in breach of Article 11 of the Constitution. Furthermore, they held that the 2nd and 3rd Respondent police officers and the State are jointly and severally liable to compensate the Petitioner.

However, what the police officers did in order to cover up their wrongdoing against the Petitioner was to have the Petitioner and his two witnesses, his father and mother, killed. It was sheer luck that his younger brother was able to escape the same fate by falsifying his identity. The intention of the police officers was to kill the entire family, with the expectation that, thereby, there would be no one to pursue the case being heard against them in the Supreme Court.

Despite the Supreme Court finding two officers to have violated the fundamental rights of the Petitioner, both officers continued to work and continued to receive promotions in their capacities as officers. One of them retired at the end of his term; the other still continues to work in the police service as an officer in charge of a police station.

In any country cold-blooded and planned murders of a father, a mother, and a son would have shocked the entire society and the State would have been prevented from ignoring such a heinous crime. But in Sri Lanka, even such a crime committed by those meant to enforce the law does not disturb anyone’s conscience. The extent to which the legal intellect of Sri Lanka has been paralysed is bewildering. However, today there is hardly anyone left whom such terrible spectacles may bewilder.

One fundamental element of a civilised legal system is that the state will do everything it can, and put all its resources in order, to take legal notice of every murder, and to have the perpetrators of such murders brought to justice. This norm is no longer operative in Sri Lanka.

The state has demonstrably failed to act in the face of murder and other serious crimes. People who hold office as law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges do not feel a sense of obligation to ensure the implementation of law, even in the face of gruesome murders and other serious crimes.

Discussions on the impact of the 1978 Constitution and its so-called system of power of executive presidency remain superficial even as measures are being discussed to amend the obnoxious clauses of this Constitution. What no one wants to consider is the 1978 Constitution was made with the view to completely derail the rule of law system in Sri Lanka. The success of that derailing project is so complete that today even the failure to prosecute a murder has become an insignificant matter.

To anyone who is left with an iota of legal sensitivity, this triple murder of a father, a mother, and a son, carried out solely with the view of subverting the law, should become a challenge.

If there is a will, even now, it is not too late to investigate this ugly and horrible affair.

*To be continued

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Latest comments

  • 12
    11

    It is very sad to hear about. It is a country murderer can escape. See People’s attitudes of the recent war end. One Bishop with statistics informed that more than 150,000 people lost and disappeared. However, leaderships and people srilankan celebrated that ltte finished. Therefore where is justice.? Even ISIS has some policy but in Sri Lanka nothing.

    • 6
      17

      jana the donkey, you are supporting terrorists such as LTTE and ISIS. you must be hanged

      • 8
        7

        One more person hanged by the types of jana. What does it matter. Thousands have been killed without any accountability. Not only Tamils but, the 70,000 Sinhalese during the JVP uprising and then the Muslims at Aluthgama. At least, the Tamil diaspora is fighting for accountability. This fight shall not cease. It will go on until accountability is established.

      • 1
        7

        Murdapaksa & Co did this for many Tamil families ….not a dog bark …now it is happening for them …if Tamisl ask for justice they are terrorists he he he

    • 1
      7

      jana

      “Even ISIS has some policy but in Sri Lanka nothing.”

      Very interesting and a brilliant comment. Why?

      ISIS, has a set of rules and policies, however crooked and inhumane tery are, based on incorrect or correct interpretation of Wahhabism, still they follow them.

      In sri Lanka, they have a Constitution and they do not follow them. When it is pointed out, those who point it our are killed.

      Based on this, my interpretation is that ISIS have better “ethics” in implementing their “policies” than the sri Lanka Security Forces.

  • 8
    7

    This is the consequence when people at the top interfere with the judiciary, the people at the bottom suffer exponentially. During the Rajapakse regime rule, heinous crimes of this nature became common and insignificant and became not newsworthy. I hope this particular case is properly investigated and the culprits, severly punished after a just trial.

  • 13
    8

    Majority of PEOPLE in SL are buddhists But how come they kill one another as if do so it with flies ?

    Is Buddhism not the NON-VIOLENT religion ?

    • 0
      4

      Ghansarasa et al should have done the job long ago – spreading violations. Had the bugger in Power reacted adequately, all crime doers woudl have learnt it- and followed it up. Today, you make crime, in the same time you work in PARLIAMENT. People will decide it next time.

      All these bunch thugs that would go against 19A will have to face it. None of them will be taken to Parliament – most likely be thrown to jails for the rest of the life

      • 1
        3

        We are,the majority of us, Sinhala Buddhists,
        so there is no problem of killings.

        But Buddhists Sinhalese never come to that much of low level for killings.

    • 1
      7

      Yes, same as Christianity in Ukraine, Nazi Germany, Islam in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. What a moronic comment.

    • 0
      3

      Don’t blame the religions for these evil doings. It has to do with our culture that was ably promoted by the likes of the Rajapakses and Mervyn Silvas. Ironically, they love worshipping in temples when there are photographers around.

  • 7
    5

    This is the sad part of a beautiful country. With politicized judicial system and above the law police officers, the extent of damage done to the society and innocent public has no limits. As pointed out in the article rightly, it is still not too late to punish culprits who did this heinous crime.

  • 3
    6

    Under PTA everything is justified. All most every families in the northeast may have a story like this. From the leader of the country to ministers and every politician and members of the security forces foreign politicians too captitalise on the PTA and linking to ltte.
    LTTE and Tamils are the good subject for all the politicians all over the world.

    • 0
      6

      Perfectly right. PTA came in because of the War, which is over years ago. Rajapakses continued to harass opponents well covered by its
      protection. But Tamils in the NEP suffered most. Police and Armed services officers became multi-millionaires blackmailing and intimidating Tamils, notably those well to do among them.

      The ordinary laws of the country are sufficient for the Police to carry out their normal functions. PTA should be instantly done away with. BASL kindly note.

      Kettikaran

  • 2
    5

    Fernando has very selective judgement, going hell for leather on cases that will provide maximum publicity but turning a blind eye to those that might prove embarrassing.

  • 1
    7

    This is one story and thousand of similar stories are out there and stil going on people are afraid come out to fight for it,
    Specially most of them are Tamils arrested under PTA and no charges now they are getting release but no compensation
    I do t want to here LTTE excuses here by the half baked

  • 1
    4

    OMG very pathetic where are the human rights lawyers? even now its not late bring the culprits to book.

  • 2
    4

    Many injustices must have taken place during the past 10 to 15 years, especially by the police. Why don’t the Police Commissioner, set up an independent team to investigate all reports that his office has received for at least the past 10 years. I am sure such complaints are recorded in the head office. It may be quite easy to locate these complainants and record statements from them once again and take necessary action.

  • 0
    4

    Why go that far, just see what even this new government doing to the Tamils of North East. They allowed forces to grab fertile lands, bulldozed houses, place od worships, building sports facility for the forces,swimming pool, rest houses, luxury mansion for the ruler, do farming etc., while the people evicted are living in camps in unbearable conditions. Now the President, PM, the Army commander are all repeatedly saying that the forces will not be removed.

    Their face of handing over some patch of dry useless land to a few with pomp and announcement i s just an eye wash and cheating the world.

    If a government can do this to the citizen, how can anyone expect others to do justice, even at this last stage ?

    Nothing good is going to happen for anyone. All these political rascals are the same. They will never any good, for the country or the people.

    They all just love criminally and violently subjugating and dominating Tamils. No one should have any hope with these racial scums.

  • 2
    4

    The officers concerned should be punished even at this late stage.

  • 1
    4

    ” …. this triple disappearance in revenge of a complaint made by a citizen against illegal arrests and torture by police officers showcases the absence of redress for human rights abuses suffered at the hands of security officers in Sri Lanka. By way of severe reprisals, the complainants are intimidated and thus discouraged from making complaints against security officers……” We share the outrage
    committed against this family – purely for the sin of exercising their constitutional right to make a complaint against apparently sadistic Police officers. This looks so extra-ordinary in the South. But, shockingly, this has been the routine happening in the Tamil-majority NEP for over 30 years. Families by the thousands have been savaged and are missing. The benefit of Constitutional provisions do not apparently apply to them – parts of the citizenry nonetheless.

    This is all evidence of a Failed Society, whose failure intensified after the racists Rajapakses took over. They simply allowed the Governor and the army to terrorise the Tamil civilians. But, to the credit of the Tamil Nation they took all the suffering, injustice
    and the denial of the laws to them and survive. However, the present Sirisena regime seems to look at matters more humanely.

    Kettikaran

  • 1
    4

    Police force is as corrupt as the politicians.

    What do you expect?

  • 1
    3

    Mr.Basil Fernando go and dig all over the South you can unearth 1000 s of stories like this ..where are your Monks why can’t they lead this ????

    Murdapaksa & Co must be roasted on hot iron bed before pack him to ICC at the Hague ..

    Imagine if Murdapaksa done this to his own people what would have happened to Tamils ????

  • 0
    4

    The lack of Civilian institutions that can monitors these crimes is a significant shortcoming not only in Sri Lanka but in all third world countries. And, in many instances it is deliberately so, allowing the powerful to get away with murder!

    In Sri Lankan it is complicated by an influential NGO community that pretends to be doing this task, whilst milking gullible donors who are just looking for photos to include in their annual reports, to justify their existence to their home governments.

  • 5
    1

    “The younger brother managed to escape by giving a false identity and thereafter went into hiding.”

    Was it not the STF- Police along with the commissioner of elections who finally got you out of a worst [Edited out] with Gotabaya White van and Passa thugs.
    It took the Russian lass quite a lot of work getting help from private Club Russian Oligarch’s at London and the Russian MP UK to ask Prince Charles to inquire about the murder of Palestinian/British murder.

    1989 – What with money to go to supreme courts and women presidents etc Lankians were enjoying life la Vida.

    Lakshman Kadirgama was your Tamil hero at Oxford for what please???

    The irony of all you Sinhala people of bestiality breed is this:

    Chickens at the plantation island have more to answer themselves than cling on to sovereignty and cry for help from the world to export their knickers be they Victoria’s secret or the 2 legged women or boys- cabbages in EU magazines.

    You are still Hyena in your way people- hunt in packs, kids play this game but you are cannibal- sinhala buddhist or sihala or tamil or muslim.

  • 6
    1

    They killed him for his wealth and power and Hillary cried happy jealousy (perhaps womans like the now famous ` convenience`)??

    Muammar Gaddafi: $200 billion

    Gaddafi ruled Libya for 42 years.

    How much is passa and extended family worth??

    Lanka is yet not Libya but needs a straight jacket shake- is it worth it??

  • 0
    5

    If five police officers who do civil law enforcement can capable of doing these heinous crime, and able to evade the grip of law, just imagine what could have happened in a war without any reporters which has a patriotic element to it.

    The legal system failed the ordinary Sri Lankans, and the politicians, not the corrupted ones, even the others should feel ashamed about it, as it is a collective responsibility of everyone to uphold the rule of law, particularly those who have been elected to represent. What the fcuk the members of parliament who elected from Panandura and surrounding areas doing?. How come this kind of impunities being allowed go unnoticed. Would the people of this area bother to go to this station?. The relativity of this crime makes corruption is a “no deal”, so for a populace so used to this kind of current normal MR’s squander and killings nothing as it has some patriotic twist.

  • 1
    4

    In 1989 these three murders would have been like a drop in the ocean.

  • 0
    5

    Here in our thrice-blessed island paradise, law and order is selectively dispensed by those who consider themselves ABOVE the law. This is the curse that hovers over us; the curse that frightens good people into self-preservation by doing nothing. This is the yoke that we carry, an instinct to keep our mouths shut, and look the other way.

    In a proper civil society, every unexplained death is pursued till a logical and satisfactory conclusion is arrived at. We have become masters at cover up, and sweeping matters ‘under the carpet’. Those who have allowed this situation to carry on, over many aeons, should hang their heads in shame.

    • 0
      0

      Just me,
      Curious,
      whats this meant to mean- Here in our thrice-blessed island paradise,??? b.s.s.

      :-) :-) :-) smelly pin cushions- :-) :-) :-)

      just curious of the recurring barrage.

  • 0
    0

    Javi.

    “whats this meant to mean- Here in our thrice-blessed island paradise,??? b.s.s.”

    Sarcasm: The ability to insult idiots without them realising it

    – Unknown Quote.

  • 0
    4

    What a horrible story and the culprits are happily living in retirement ?

    The judiciary is a joke in Sri lanka thanks to MaRa the thug but what will the good IGP do about this now ?

    The maximum punishment should be given at least now unless the neighbors are required to do it for them.

    Give their names please

    • 0
      0

      Waruna, The author will soon be living in retirement as well…….

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