Two police officers; a Sub Inspector and a Police Constable attached to the Pussellawa Police Station were suspended on Sunday after a 33 year old man died while in police custody, amidst fears that he may have been tortured till death. However, the police said that the victim, K. Ravichandran from Pussellawa died after committing suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell using the shirt he was wearing.
The incident resulted with residents from the area taking to the streets to protest against the police and demanding for justice. The victim’s body was ordered to be sent to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital for the postmortem which will help determine the cause of the death.
The development comes just a few days after a 22 year old youth went missing while in police custody at the Hambantota Police. The incident resulted in four police officers attached to the station being interdicted. The youth was however found on September 15.
In May, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez exposed some of the most brutal forms of torture used by the Sri Lankan Police while questioning suspects. The most brutal forms of torture used by police to interrogate suspects include; beatings with sticks or wires on the soles of the feet (falanga); suspension for hours while being handcuffed, asphyxiation using plastic bags drenched in kerosene and hanging of the person upside down; application of chili powder to face and eyes; and sexual violations including mutilation of the genital area and rubbing of chili paste or onions on the genital area. He made this disclosure at the conclusion of his official visit to Sri Lanka in May this year.
On Wednesday, Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara to get his act together and to ensure that his officers don’t act in a manner which will result in the public losing faith in the police.
Soon after the incident where the 22 year old G. G. Gayashan, went missing while in the custody of the Hambantota Police, a visibly angry Wickremesinghe who had met Jayasundara for a urgent meeting to discuss the recent escalation in the crime rate had openly expressed his displeasure over the Police Chief’s conduct and his failure to discipline his officers since taking over in mid-April.
Following the incident at the Hambantota Police and the obvious negligence on the part of the officers the station, four police officers were interdicted. Acting Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana while addressing the press conference on Wednesday at the weekly cabinet briefing agreed that there had been a ‘shortcoming’ on the part of the police which resulted in the disappearance of Gayashan.
Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission believes that Gayashan ran away from the police to escape torture. In an article written by him and published in the Colombo Telegraph, Fernando pointed out that when the police commit graver crimes of torture and ill treatment on suspects, they are only transferred.
BBS Rep / September 19, 2016
“The most brutal forms of torture used by police to interrogate suspects include; beatings with sticks or wires on the soles of the feet (falanga); suspension for hours while being handcuffed, asphyxiation using plastic bags drenched in kerosene and hanging of the person upside down; application of chili powder to face and eyes; and sexual violations including mutilation of the genital area and rubbing of chili paste or onions on the genital area. “
‘Buddhang Saranang Gachchami’
Samuel Jayaweera / September 19, 2016
I believe the 22 year old went missing story was made by JO…. to send the message across being against to current politics.
They are so devious – investigations should be continued to find the truth but truth…
1) Weeping father s comments added to the media went viral
2) Then the twin brother s
3) Then again PC assured the family – and went on genuine search
4) Then the boy was found in a temple in Dikwella
5) Now the boy had added him to have stayed at their relatives with the knowledge of his family
6) But the family sounded to the press or press painted the picture that way on their pay masters- ….. all in all who is tellin the truth.
This is where Press has to be care… very careful not to create new wave of problems….. JOURNOS are very irresponsible to this date as I see it..
Taraki / September 19, 2016
I am sick to death of everyone associating crime, corruption etc with Buddhists just because the majority are Buddhists.
When did you or anyone else ever associate the bombing of Iraq and Syria with the work of Christian nations? Has the fact that Russia and America are Christian ever been mentioned regarding this?
But the Buddhists are an easy target for you and you can expect the local Christians to sit back smugly expecting more converts and the Diaspora Tamils to jump on the bandwagon to do their bit for Eelam.
Native Vedda / September 19, 2016
Though I want to but I can’t wipe your tears. What a shame?
By the way, you claim, being the majority the Sinhalese should be given more powers than the rest of the people.
The Sinhalese had more powers increasingly so since 1950s.
Sinhalese controlled the parliament, manned the state institutions, elected their president the absolute ruler, obeyed the political Sangha, tolerated nepotism, corruption, discrimination racism, crime, supported war criminals since 1971, encouraged or benefitted from racial disharmony, voted for the thugs, criminals, crooks, drug smugglers, rapists, allowed to enjoy impunity, ……………. all because Sinhalese formed the majority took it for granted believing in all is well, ………………… as long as the minorities are denied of equitable share of power, resources, .. and rights as fellow human beings.
In the process, Sinhalese have created a Frankenstein the Sinhala/Buddhists or Sinhala/Buddhism, which can only destroy Sinhalese and Buddhists, because there is nothing else to destroy.
Please stop moaning and groaning, tackle the problem head on. Speak to the people who had powers and see what they have to tell you about abuse and misuse of power.
I know its much easier to bury your head in patriotic rhetoric than cleaning up the mess.
BBS Rep / September 20, 2016
Read again what NV has written. Open your eyes and ears.
Analyst / September 19, 2016
What do they teach at the Police Academy’s where the New recruits gets trained.
The policy appears kill the victim / So called suspect before the prisoner opens the mouth protesting his innocence.
They are not even allowed to get advice from a lawyer.
The Banana Republic will continue the brutal law practised by the brutal rulers .
The President and the PM should try to change these barbaric Police Practises.
While the Human Rhights are breathing down the neck of SL , The President should take action to RID OF THIS MENACE IN THE POLICE DEPT.
The Malwatte Chapters should involve in GOOD PRACTICE IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT TOO.
No good when these brutal Police Murderers asks for Pardon from the Malwatte Chapters with Lavish Danas After committing the crime of Torture and death of those in their custody.
Mano / September 19, 2016
What are we, a rogue nation that does not have civilized laws, rules and regulations? These are primitive modes of torture, and it does not adhere to the Buddhist philosophy. We should be ashamed that at this day and age, we have these horrible forms of torture, which is inhumane and only makes us comparable to rogue nations, dictatorships, and nations that have tyrannical leaders. The present government MUST stop this abuse and human rights violations by law enforcement officials.
Samuel Jayaweera / September 19, 2016
If these are the methods being used by police to get the information – really, this nation and the police are brutal- than Saudis or others from that part that know nothing but physcial harms to the wrongdoers in their soils. We the predominantely buddhist nation have condemend what Sharia laws contain sofar, but the nature of applying the harms have been no different to that of them.
I simply believe, more than idetified inthe day today life, there are high criminals hidden in this nation to animate the kind of physical harms in lanken society.
We definitely need rigorous law and order enforcement to the manner Singaporeans do. Merciless laws can tame anyone. Germany, Singapore, and western world are well aware of it and have long been strict to their laws due to the reason.
shankar / September 19, 2016
“Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission believes that Gayashan ran away from the police to escape torture.”
gayashan says he just walked away when he found the poliman missing after he came out of the bathroom.Policeman also went for a call of nature that took longer than gayashan’s.That is why there should be always two cops doing a duty together so that one can go for a call of nature.in this case it would not matter because the second cop also would have gone for a call of nature.After all this is the hambantota police,the capital city of rajapaksherata.
shankar / September 19, 2016
BTW what happened to the policewoman who beat up the child who was raped,whe she made a complaint.If nothing has then that is the cause of ravichandrans death and pujitha should resign immediately.All bombast and no results it seems.
Devil / September 19, 2016
SL police and armed forces get training from all the advanced advancing , developed countries. Still this killing in custody is much prevalent in SL police custody, In TN too. S o what training are they getting from these countries. Learning or teaching how to kill those in custody and fabricate stories and evidence. Saying, human civilization is a mirage. The Humanity is the same as it was a million yrs BC. You have to be strong and cunning to survive.
Sinhala_Man / September 19, 2016
All comments are sane and restrained, but mirror genuine concern. Nobody is playing politics; these things just shouldn’t be happening.
Sam Fernando / September 19, 2016
Even so called develop world -the police behave so – even if they are called developed, sure, we must not take wrong examples, but uncivlized and far poor nation of our kind will take some more time to adjust the nation properly.
Native Vedda / September 19, 2016
I do agree with you.
However, we are only the keyboard “Worriers” , will not participate in any protest against the police or the corrupts. We do not want to offend our rulers especially our local MPS, fearing reprisal from them or falling out of them.
What should the people do?
Sylvia Haik / September 19, 2016
This is Human rights Abuse on a massive scale. These sort of abuses appear routine with our police that is crying out for proper training and discipline.