23 April, 2024


Protect Shani’s Life: Human Rights Commission Sends Urgent Directive To Prisons Commissioner

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has issued a directive to prison authorities to take all possible measures to protect the life of former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera who was recently transferred to a quarantine facility at a military installation after allegedly testing positive for the corona virus.

In a letter to Prisons Commissioner General Thushara Upuldeniya, HRCSL said that it had received several complaints expressing grave concerns for Abeysekera’s safety and threats to his life after reports surfaced that he had contracted corona virus while in remand at Mahara Prison.

Shani Abeysekara

For days Abeysekera remained untraceable with prison authorities refusing to reveal information about where the former detective had been transferred for treatment.

Colombo Telegraph learns that following interventions on behalf of Abeysekera by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the former CID director’s whereabouts were confirmed as being the Gallella army camp in Polonnaruwa. News of his transfer to a military run facility have sent shock waves because several of Abeysekera’s more recent investigations into attacks against journalists and abduction rackets have involved high ranking members of the Sri Lanka Army and its Directorate of Military Intelligence. The military has made no secret of the fact that Abeysekera is in its crosshairs for investigating dozens of army and navy officers involved in the Lasantha Wickrematunge assassination, the Prageeth Eknaligoda abduction, the Rathupaswela killings and the kidnapping of the 11 young men by a gang of navy personnel. Several of these cases have led to indictments in the High Court by the Attorney General and if convicted these officers could face jail time. The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2019 has led to the promotion of many of these military officials facing charges for heinous crimes and they have grown in influence over the past year.

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka noted that it was closely monitoring the complaints received regarding fears for Abeysekera’s safety and recommended that if the former CID chief had indeed been diagnosed with corona virus he should be transferred to the nearest covid19 treatment centre for medical attention.

“We urge you to devote your urgent and immediate attention to this complaint and take every step necessary to protect the life of a person in your custody” the HRCSL letter to Upuldeniya states.

The Commission has requested a response from the Commissioner General of Prisons regarding what security steps have been taken on or before November 30, 2020.

Complaints were filed with the Human Rights Commission by the Association of Young Journalists and others, regarding Abeysekera’s safety.

The HRCSL directive comes as a group of victims of grave human rights abuses and violent crimes sent a separate appeal to Attorney General Dappula De Livera, urging the department to step in to ensure the safety of an investigator that has been key to successful prosecutions by the AG over several decades including presently ongoing prosecutions filed by the department.

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Latest comments

  • 26

    The powers that be persuaded a majority of the population to vote for them on the basis of the Great Hero having achieved two Great Victories. The victories seem hollow now.
    Few of us may have known Shani Abeysekera personally, but he was a man who was respected by many of us. Is it right that this should be his fate?

    • 4

      Sinhala_Man: “he was a man who was respected by many of us”. When you say “us”, please exclude me. I do not wish to give reasons in this comment, but I am convinced of the reasons for making that decision. I wish, I had an opportunity of meeting you on “one to one” and discuss those reasons. I consider it a lost opportunity.

      • 2

        Dear Simon,
        It is quite possible that you know more about all this than I do. I wish that others also would take the opinions that they express more seriously than currently appears to be the case.
        I have so far taken it for a fact that Shani Abeysekera, and many others whom the current government is uncomfortable with, have been unjustly treated. Admittedly, that’s a bit vague.
        There are quite a few regular commenters on CT with whom I have ensured that I have shared communication links. I’d be only too glad to discuss this, and any other matters on which you feel that I ought to be better informed.
        Please google my name; a bit of searching ought to reveal someway in which we could establish contact. So, this needn’t be “a lost opportunity”.
        Even after seeing your comment, I have signed the petition as requested by LM. Even in his case, I have no contact details with him.
        Thanks for telling me that you feel differently.
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela, aka “Sinhala_Man.”

      • 4

        Dear Simon,
        Great comment. What a wonderful temperate comment without malice.
        What I call “Disagree, agreeably.”

  • 15

    no need for white van ..blame Covid19

  • 19

    Another Himalayan failure of Ranil/Yahapalanaya !

    When all these chaps in the present government are obviously corrupt/murderous and yet yahapalanaya could only think of sil redy, Thajudeen( accident ?) and an empty house in Gampaha. All these chaps are billionaires ( with no explanation for their wealth) but Yahapalanaya could only think of these border-line cases. They sent a over blown human rights lawyer to Dubai to investigate a bank account( Failed ! ) He did a one week report on Srilanakn -no action. Finally he went to Australia to teach English and decided it was a real paradise and refused to return to the bogus paradise in the Indian ocean !

    Then Ranil appointed the over rated big talking but very mediocre Dilrukshi in charge of fighting corruption ( Ranil is very clever in selecting people- confidence trickster Mahendran, slithery Upul ,empty Cooray, greedy SriLanakn Board of directors ). Maybe, he looks for people worse than him for appointment !

    When the cookie crumbled ( as it had to ) dedicated police officers are left to the wolves.

    Oh, don’t forget the damage done by the crude imbecility of UNP MPS/Ministers like Ranjan R, Senasinghe and the large scale corruption of Ravi K and Kiriella. Above them all sat the sleaze, arrogance and the essential stupidity of Ranil, UNPs eternal but failed leader .

  • 14

    What a travesty. Where is the justice in this? Where the Bar association, the loyal opposition, the Police Unions, the international humanitarian agencies? Is it too much to ask for a strong and unambiguous intervention?

    Shame on the AG, shame on the pro-government media, and shame on those entrusted to dispense the law with no fear nor favour.

    Stroke the egos of the Brothers Inc, and thou shalt be blessed with favoured treatment, milk, honey and riches beyond compare; cross them by as much as a hair’s breadth, and though shalt face condemnation, ruination and even death.

    How much longer can this machiavellian situation continue unabated? When will this menace stop?

    • 2

      Dear DS and Simon,
      While agreeing fully with both your comments, may be we should delve more deeply into why this situation came about and is YET persisting.
      As long as the present systems of electing MPs without some proper assessment of their moral character exists, and the gullible voters are carried away by rhetoric and some offers of immediate gain, or bound by sectarian values, there appears no salvation in the near future.
      I can think of two courses :;
      1. To campaign together for a better system. Recommended for the young.
      2. Resign your self to grin and bear saying “What to do” and live and preserve your sanity.
      Or tongue in cheek :
      Rail at the system to no avail.

      • 0

        Very sorry indeed.
        Above to DS and Easton Scott.
        Apologies to you and Simon.

  • 11

    What a deadly reversal of events in Sri Lanka. Criminals are administering justice, and an outstanding and committed police officer who investigated them is now at their mercy. The media is silent. Self-declared guardians of public morality, the Mahanayakas and the Cardinal, have decided to look away. After the enactment of 20th Amendment, the fate of all citizens is pretty much sealed.

  • 5

    Ramani Muttetuwegama is the grand daughter of Dr.Colvin.R. de. Silva and the daughter of a fine Parliamentarian, Sarath Muttetuwegama EX.MP. Kalawana.

    No doubt she is the chip of the old block!

  • 5

    Is this the new method of vanishing whistleblowers, and silencing those who know too much? First Zaharan’s wife was whisked away, and now this former CID Director.
    COVID 19 has it’s uses I guess. Why has that Muslim lawyer not given his day in court, or his family told what the charges are to justify his incarceration?

    Justice Rajapaksa style.

  • 9

    Shani was transferred to the IDH a short while ago.

    Thanks HRC and CT of-course for highlighting this issue.

    • 3

      thank you, if the info is correct. I was very worried of his health.

      Murderous men in power would march back to the CRIME friendly era (as was the case with JUNTA regime 01 prior to 2015).

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