23 September, 2019

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I’m Ashamed, We Torture Citizens Of Our Own Country

By Eran Wickramaratne 

Eran Wickramaratne MP

Eran Wickramaratne MP

Today, I am taking the short time allocated to me, to speak on the protection of the lives of those who are arrested by the Police.  We all know of the incident in Kamburupitiya wherein a police officer and his wife were murdered. Three were arrested as suspects.  Now the three of them are dead. They died prior to being convicted of the crime committed. I must state that until the Court condemns a person as guilty, the Police and the Government have the responsibility to protect those who are arrested and treat them as innocent.

We are aware that torture and inhuman treatment generally occur. This is something that not only happens in our country but has been happening throughout history. When Kautilya wrote the Arthasastra in 350 B.C. he referred to torture.  Our Hindu devotees know that the  ‘vedas’ refer to various types of torture.  From history we see that when king Ashoka embraced Buddhism, he legally abolished torture. Torture was prevalent in Europe. However, around 150 – 200 years ago, torture was abolished through legal means.

Today, in Europe if even one man is found to have been tortured, it could well lead to the overthrow of a Government. Why?  Because people in those countries, have learnt to despise torture.  However, in Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, we hear stories of some form of torture, in one police station or the other, on a daily basis. Today, if you are on the internet, you would come across many torture victims, speaking about their ordeals. Not only on the web, but you can find many publications on such ordeals. There was a recent publication with stories of about 400 torture victims speaking about their experience.

(The Hon. Alhaj A.H.M. Azwer)

What do you say about Guantanamo detention camp? Have you seen it in the website?

(The Hon.  Eran Wickramaratne)

Please sit down. This, is not an issue concerning party politics. Please do not disturb what’s being said here.

We must completely get rid of torture. Torture in European countries, if any,  is not inflicted upon the citizens of their own country. The United States of America does not torture its own citizens. They only torture citizens of other countries. We all must categorically condemn such acts. However, I am ashamed that we torture citizens of our own country.  It is not a responsibility that can be palmed off on the Police alone; we too must take the responsibility. We know that Sri Lanka is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. .

We implemented the Convention against Torture by adopting Act No. 22 of 1994.  We enacted the Act and what did we do next?  We established a special unit within the Criminal Investigations Department, to look into the issues of torture and recourse to a judicial process, to reduce and abolish the acts of torture. I must mention that these things were done, during the time of President Chandrika Kumaranatunga. During this period there was a considerable reduction in torture. However, what happened then ?  That special unit was abolished on the pretext of the ongoing war.   Now, its almost 5 years since the war ended. I request the Minister of Defence, to look into this matter, and re-establish the anti-torture special unit. As a community we must put an end to torture.

As a nation with people of different faiths, we must completely stop torture.  Torture, stands against all our religious beliefs and culture. The elimination of torture becomes difficult to achieve because of the lack of political will. Even when such important matters are being taken up in this assembly, some members  disturb and make  irrelevant remarks about past incidents. In the end, important matters such  as these, for which we can stand united, are not  discussed or taken forward. Let’s work together towards the total elimination of torture in Sri Lanka. If we unite, we can obliterate torture form our country for good.  To do that, we need a deep conviction and political will. If we see a woman, being inhumanely treated at a police station, that incident would bear no colour or party. It only requires humanity and that is why I speak about it now. Today the criminal investigations mechanism has become weak. If we are to abolish all forms of torture, those institutions need to be provided with more resources. I am not finding fault with  the police force alone . We must strengthen the police . We must acknowledge  and accept that some change has taken  place in the recent past.  That is, the fact that following the last Budget debate, Sri Lanka Police was taken out of  the purview of the Ministy of Defence.  But that alone is not enough.  We need to look beyond..

Some of our Members of Parliament spoke of the salaries of the police personnel. We have within the precincts of Parliament, officers from the Sri Lanka Police,  who provide us with security.  A Sub Inspector of Police, who has more than 24 years of service, receives a  basic salary of around Rs. 18,000 to 19,000. Their allowances amount to around Rs. 6,000 – 7,000.  Their total salary is Rs. 26,000.  With this year’s Budget they have been given an increase of Rs. 1,200 which is around a 4- 5 percent increase in their income. However, we all know of the prices of goods.  To say this in all honesty, the prices of goods have escalated at a much higher percentage than incomes. In addition to better salaries,  we need to provide these officers with training and technology. The police service is a profession. To make that profession, an honourable service, both our parties have to work together.

*Translation of the statement made by Eran Wickramaratne MP in Parliament on December 3, 2013.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    The result of Politicization of the Law Enforcement Agencies….and the Legal System….due to KABARAYAS ( thugs ..murderers…drug dealers ) taking over the power….

    • 1
      6

      Get lost Eran . The police killed them as the murderers were shooting at the police who came to arrest them . This has happened in the UK USA where the police had no alternative but to shoot the culprits . do not make a drama of events for the benefit of the UNP.

  • 0
    9

    Application of Sharia Law is not torture. It is discipline. Don’t judge every person by your religious standards.

    Crimes of the Church is very well known.

    • 6
      0

      Fathima Fukafather…. The Church does not kill young women who are accused of adultery – neither does it forcibly convert Muslims and Hindus to Christianity as the Muslims do in Islamic countries with Christians and Hindus.

    • 1
      5

      Another back door MP.We all know how Eran’s boss Ranil went on a killing spree in 88/89.Now shedding crocodile tears.

    • 0
      0

      If Sharia is ok why you blame the LTTE they applied their own Sharia and SLTTE is applying its own Shariya

    • 0
      0

      Yes, Sharia law is anti democratic & constitutes torture.

  • 1
    0

    Yes, even if anyone would have been murdered on broad day light today, many would despise it today. MR rule has manipulated those poor folks (in rural areas)so that rule of law should be above their own rules. This is the reason them not despise any brutal acts that have become daily agendas across the country today.

    Why cant the investigate these issues properly, if they are sure that all these are through former army deserters and their thuggish clans ? If they are proud to have demined northern areas within shorter period of time, why cant the same authorities work on against rapid increase on crime incidents today ? WHy is that ? What harm they would face if they would pay genuine efforts in this regard ?

    • 1
      0

      applogies:
      MR rule has manipulated those poor folks (in rural areas)so that rule of law should NOT be above their own rules.

  • 0
    3

    “Today, I am taking the short time allocated to me, to speak on the protection of the lives of those who are arrested by the Police. We all know of the incident in Kamburupitiya wherein a police officer and his wife were murdered. Three were arrested as suspects. Now the three of them are dead. They died prior to being convicted of the crime committed. I must state that until the Court condemns a person as guilty, the Police and the Government have the responsibility to protect those who are arrested and treat them as innocent.” (EW)

    The Budget Debate is a verbal war between justification and productivity of expenditure. Hon. EW has missed the point that the Police Department is helping the government to save money by shortening investigations, avoiding judicial process and reducing inmates in prisons.

    • 1
      4

      So many commentators here condemn SL is a third world country. So, I can understand that there are a lot of shortcomings by the government and the police etc in SL. That first world country, the US keeps so many people in cages for years without being charged and also keep shooting so many young and the old people by drones in other countries for no fault of theirs. What I cannot understand is this Eran like guys still venerate the US as Holy Grail democracy.

      • 4
        0

        I know what you meant by your comment.

        Why Eran or others sometimes incl. me hail those countries as democratic – because people living in those country enjoy democracy at least to some extent. you can expect 100% democracy anywhere on this planet. But those developed states do cover most essentials of people^s needs. Most of all giving a highest place to the human values: like for example, if you find anything wrong, or are met with some injustices to get them solved through a lawyer without being biased. Or getting done simple things done to a fair manner. Law in those countries are equal to presidential, ministerial offsprings and to you.

        TO be honest, in retrospect, we know (one who lived in the country 3-4 decades ago) that our people also enjoyed all the mentioned essential kind of democratic values in the country.

        Today’s dilemma for average eye is:
        can we go to the nearest police and expect them to treat you accordingly ? NO

        can we go to courts and win a case even if you have all prima facie evidence on your hand to prove your case against the accused – clearly no – because MR and thuggish culture that he has sowed in the country – has looted the nation to this day.

        So this is the great difference between developed world and developing countries like ours.

        And you say that the keep some in prisons for no reason: They are still the thinner minority

        You say shooting occurrences are plenty… : THat is only in the states, not in Europe. If found in Europe, that is only single issues. Also in the US, not in every state, you will find that kind of weapon culture.

        • 3
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          you can not expect 100% democracy anywhere on this planet.

  • 0
    0

    Forenoon

    Re-post………………….[“Sometimes I cry in my dreams, and I wake up because my pillow is sopping wet. Was I sobbing in my sleep? Hardly. But I was drooling.
”]
    ― Jarod Kintz, At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you’d still waste time by reading it.

    It seems that Sun almost tired burning forever in the vast sky.
    He lazily rises for another day.
    A flock of birds fly as usual for their daily findings.
    Moon hides as she scares to scorch in vain.
    Struggle of human wake from scratch to fight and notch up their goals.
    How many mornings the man has to wake up until he gets his permanent sleep
    And to avoid the life’s Beep?

    nimal

  • 3
    0

    Thank you for raising this subject in parliament. But I am curious to know how come this was not raised for all these years ie, from the mid 1950s when the torture, killings, burning alive, rapes, robbery, vandalism, abductions etc. in short every type of crime was committed against the innocent, un-armed Tamils, even in the heart of Colombo in broad daylight, aided and abetted by bikhus, ministers were perpetrated, people from the majority community was silent spectators. No one raised the issue. Not even an apology!!

    Is this because Tamils were considered as “NOT AS CITIZENS OF OUR OWN COUNTRY”?

    • 4
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      truth

      Stupidity and torture in this island know no race, no region, no religion. Those are common to all, perpetrators and victims are found in all communities.

  • 3
    1

    SL authorities will never get rid of torture within Sri Lanka, because they need torture to keep Rajapaksa regime in power and to terorrise the public into compliance. — One must ask why does the GOSL use White Vans instead of vehicles of different shape and colors? For the same reason nuclear powers want everyone to know they have nukes, i.e. nukes are an ineffective deterence if no one knows you have them. In the same vein GOSL want people to know White Vans exsist, so that people will fear being taken by White Vans if they oppose the regime. White Vans are very much a tool for GOSL to instill fear in the populace.

  • 1
    4

    eran should shut up this pukka sahibs will venerate any white trash as they have houses in us/uk.

  • 1
    4

    All of you should get your facts straight. In all countries there is torture of some sort. It does not have to be physical. Mental torture is just as bad. The legal immigration system in the US even for spouses to be united is a form of mental torture.

    Sri Lanka is accused of torture, what about the LTTE that tortured their own when they didn’t fall in line. what about the cases where their own were wrapped in barbed wire and rolled down hills? All you people in Colombo Telegraph are traitors. When we should unite to save the country, you guys are spitting venom. Try to sift between politics and patriotism. None of us think this regime is perfect If we throw these folks out, you can be sure we will get another team of junk. At least give the country a chance for peace. Politicians are corrupt no matter what. See how the western politicians are being bought by the LTTE rump. All of you should shut up and speak for Sri Lanka without putting foreign money in your pocket to talk against the government and causing hardship to the people of the country. All of you are corrupt and do not love your country. You can hate the politicians and yet love your country. The way you guys slam Sri Lanka, I am sure it is money talking. None of you or for that matter anyone in Sri Lanka is doing anything for nothing. We as expats are doing much more and people like your group will be responsible if the country gets divided and the stinking smelly folks from across the Palk strait take over our country. SO THINK BEFORE YOU ALL OPEN YOUR THOUGHTLESS DISRUPTION.

    • 3
      1

      out spoken- You are not behaving according to the name “out spoken”
      You are talking non sense!! you are telling every one to be tolerant of this despicable regime, saying that you will not get a better one than this government. I am sure either you are one of them, or you are “singing for your supper” How can you help the country with this kind of Government at the helm?

  • 0
    2

    Even my religion allows torture.

    9th pope who was a woman was tortured and brutally killed because she humiliated and disgraced the Church.

    So, why torture is wrong for traitors ?

  • 0
    0

    There are 31 types of torture perpetrated by our forces according to a monograph prepared by Prof.Fernando of the University of Colombo long ago and published by FRC an NGO. One of them was ‘Asoka Chakra’ where the victim is spreadeagled and tortured. Those days since according to, PTA and EMR, a confession was admissible in law almost everyone of the Tamil youths from North East including those who gave a food parcel or sometimes who had never seen an ltte cadre but just because he was near a bomb blast.Even now many of them are in Prisons and compare their plight with K.P.,Hon. Deputy Minister Muralitharan -Karuna- not the cricketer whose brother is said to face some problem with regard to illegal import of ethnol into the country and/ or Customs evasion. In the brief of every lawyer appearing for them in the High Court there would be a JMO’s Report(from a JMO or AJMO from Colombo often a Sinhala gentleman) as Doctors in NE were afraid to go against the Police. They will not do it even when there were visible marks of torture on the body of the victims. When I showed the above book to a High Court Judge who has since retired as a Provincial Court of Appeal(Civil) Judge he could not believe that our Policemen are capable of it just like our Sinhala brothers would not believe what our soldiers were capable of doing till what happened to the JVP ‘insurgents’ as Weerawansa et al would like us to believe and not terrorists. He was a very good God fearing simple person but very strict as a Judge.Torture of suspects in the South is few compared to that in the NorthEast because many had powerful persons in the cabinet(120?)who may question the Policeunless the the person who ordered torture was more powerful than them.

  • 2
    0

    its a great concept . but these thugs would make sure if these things went to trial there will be nobody to give any evidence . same thing that happened with the mafia.

    • 0
      0

      how come change of mind ?

  • 0
    4

    Killing Cops even in Diaspora Lands like Australia and New Zealand is Haram and brings an immediate Fatwa by the Police.themselves….

    Here is poor Eran mourning the demise of scum Kassipu dealer thugs who killed not only a good Cop but his innocent missus as well in front of their innocent child.

    When is Mr Eran going to have the one month Pirith and Dana at the Sirikotha?…

  • 0
    2

    Is this a Christian preacher talking? ‘The US and Europe do not torture their own citizens, they only torture citizens of other countries’. What kind of logic is that?
    What kind of christianity is that? I call myself a christian and I am ashamed that a leader of a church made such a statement.
    This is the kind of stupid talk that makes non-christians despise christianity.

  • 0
    4

    What does Mr Eran want our police to do when the criminals shoot at them??Shake hands??

    • 5
      0

      Gosh! you are stupid aren’t you

      • 0
        1

        yes Jamis, dream on…..

  • 1
    0

    An all important issue Eran missed to take up is that
    the govt itself has no faith in the justice system they
    are living under.The police alone has no courage to
    carry out such tortures and killings.The police is
    connected to politics to continue such behavior.In fact
    politicization of the whole system is the culprit.Wrong
    doers have escape routes from punishments.Are you and
    your party ready to lose these kind of powers from your
    possession?Coming to the point of salaries of police,do
    you really think if you double their salaries,their greed
    will appease?No way.There are instances of higher rankers
    being unhappy with car,bungalow,driver,telephones and on
    top of all that,the social status they enjoy with so much
    financial benefits,nothing stops them from wanting more.
    Best example in hand is the court case against a serving
    D I G interdicted pending criminal charges.Just a tip of
    the iceberg.Not only police,Education,Health,public admin
    transport,you name it.What’s more,P M office issues letter
    to the customs, seeking help to clear cargo.Just a simple
    question of common sense.Why?Forget about the cargo had
    narcotics,just why should you seek that help?It’s wrong on
    the part of the importer to seek such help and it’s wrong
    for the PM office to try to influence the customs just for
    a minor business matter.Whole social fabric is engulfed in
    this corrupt culture for nearly a half a century now.The
    only practical remedy is to start from the head like in
    URUGUAY, Mr. MUJICA.

  • 0
    0

    Good work for speaking up. At the end of the day, it’s good to see that Eran is living his faith by speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, even when public emotion does not accept it. Remember Sri Lanka, when justice is denied to a murderer, it can be denied to anyone.

  • 0
    0

    Majority of the comments appear to promote and encourage torture. What a shame. This lot has a long way to get civilised. Until such time they will live in shit holes like Sri Lanka.
    As long as these people feel ‘home’ in a society which tolerates or even promote torture, I guess its OK for them.

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