A security officer who was falsely charged with theft and tortured to confess by the Headquarters Inspector of Teldeniya is an example of the inability of the Sri Lankan police to conduct proper criminal investigations and the total collapse of the administration of justice in Sri Lanka, the Asian Human Rights Commission says.
Mr. Jayantha Aberatne (37) of No: 102, Dehikatiya Watte, Wegala,Madamahanuwara is a private security officer by profession and was working at the Teldeniya Development Bank. Jayantha is married and his two children are regularly attending school. He has been working as a security officer for the last 16 years, the AHRC case narrative says.
On 21 June 2013 at 1 p.m. when Jayantha was on duty, he was summoned to the office of the Teldeniya Headquarters Inspector of Police. When he met the HQI named Dharmaratne, he was questioned about some white sandal wood that was lost at the Magistrate’s Court and when Jayantha told him he had no knowledge of the matter the HQI locked his office door and severely beat him. Dharmaratne kicked him in the groin and stomach. He was stripped of his uniform and during the beating a finger on his right hand was broken, AHRC says.
The Commission report says that after he was severely tortured Jayantha was asked by the HQI to admit that he helped others to steal the white sandal wood from the Magistrate’s Court. Afterwards, one by one around three people were brought to the office and Jayantha had to say: “I did this business with you”. Jayantha states that after severe torture he had no option other than to do what the HQI ordered him to do. According to Jayantha the white sandal wood was in the custody of the Magistrate’s Court as case productions and had been misplaced. The HQI wanted to arrest some people over the matter. Jayantha was detained at the police station on 21 June and his mobile phone was used to call his friends.
On 22 June Jayantha was produced in court and remanded at the Bogambara Remand Prison. Upon his arrival Jayantha told the prison officers about the torture he had endured and was admitted to the Prisons Hospital. He was bailed out on 24 June, 2013 and following his release Jayantha was admitted to the Teldeniya Government Hospital where he was treated until 27June.
The HQI filled a case against Jayantha and the case was called on three occasions. Further on, Jayantha made an entry at the Regional Office of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in Kandy under the reference of HRC/K/83/3/T/I against his rights violation. Jayantha denies all the allegations made against him and feels that his fundamental rights were denied.
AHRC has urged people to write to the Sri Lankan authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegal arrest, illegal detention and torture by the police perpetrators, as well as the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the country for misusing powers of a state.
AHRC says the victim must be released from the prolonged arbitrary detention immediately. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the department orders as issued by the police department. Furthermore, please also request the NPC and the IGP to have a special investigation into the malpractices of the police officers for abusing the state officers’ powers.
The AHRC has also written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest and Detention on this regard.