Despite the family members of sexually abused 15-year-old girl filing a complaint with the Maskeliya Police Station, the case has not been properly investigated. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) the alleged suspect, who comes from a wealthy family, was simply released. He had appeared before a Magistrate without considering medical reports from two hospitals where the victim was treated. The victim’s family says that because they are very poor, the police have not given them proper attention in their quest for justice. This case clearly illustrates the collapse of the rule of law in the country, says the AHRC.
According to information received, Ms. X (not her real name), is a 15 year old girl of XXX Watte, Maskeliya, in Nuwara Eliya District. She is a student in year 11, who is preparing to sit for the GCE O/L exam in 2017 at XXX Tamil School, Maskeliya in Nuwara Eliya District. Ms. X was living with her mother who is employed at the Poultry farm in Norton Bridge. Ms. X has sisters. They are deprived. The mother is the breadwinner of the family and is chronically ill herself.
On 25th February 2017 Ms. X went to the forest close to the roadside to collect some firewood. As she was returning, a person named XXX (55), and living in the same village, dragged her to the back of the shop where he was working. The owner and other customers were not present at the time of the incident. She was afraid, started screaming for help, but no one heard her cries. Though she struggled to run away from the shop, she was not able to do so.
Then the suspect took Ms. X to the kitchen of the grocery shop. She was forced to lie on a bench. Her clothes were removed and she was sexually abused. With difficulty, she was able to escape to her house. She immediately told everything to her mother who was too sick to go to the police to file a report on the same day. When Ms. X went to school on the 3rd March 2017, she told friends what had happened to her. They reported this to the teachers and to the principal who reported the incident to the Maskeliya Police Station. Police officers came to the school and took Ms. X and her mother. Following their recorded statements, the police arrested the suspect.
Ms. X was admitted to the Maskeliya Government Hospital. On XXX March 2017 she was transferred to the Nuwara- Eliya General Hospital and admitted to Ward XXX, being discharged on XXX March.
Later, the victim’s family learned that the police had produced the suspect before the Hatton Magistrate. According to the mother, even before her daughter was released from the hospital, the suspect XXX was released by the Hatton Magistrate. The victim stated that the police did not properly investigate her case. All the evidence pertaining to the crime was not properly, timely and scientifically collected and recorded. The police did not pick up the medical reports from the two hospitals. As a result, the Hatton Magistrate was not provided with sufficient evidence for his enquiries into the case.
The victim’s mother states that the suspect is rich and has given a good deal of money to the police. Nor have the police produced any authentic evidence to support her daughter’s case. So, the suspect was released on bail. She said that she is very poor and illiterate and did not understand the procedural steps of the legal system. The case has been postponed to 3 May 2017.
The victim and her family members stated that the police have not properly investigated the crime. Rather, they have acted to protect the suspect of this heinous crime, using the country’s criminal law system.
They are demanding justice. They are asking for a prompt, effective, impartial, and independent investigation into the crime.
AHRC has urged readers to write to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Request an immediate inquiry into the allegations of not investigating the crime of sexual abuse by the police. Demand prosecution of those proven to be responsible under our criminal law system. All officers involved should be subject to internal investigations for breach of Police Departmental Orders.
The AHRC will also write a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Chairman of the UN Child Rights Committee in this regard.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Pujith Jayasundara
Inspector General of Police
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General’s Department
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers
109 Galle Road
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Human Rights Commission
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470