Lawyers for former CID sub inspector Sugath Mendis who was arrested along with SSP Shani Abeysekera have written to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) saying that their client was showing signs of being infected with the corona virus and not receiving the necessary treatment.
Attorney at Law Chaminda Athukorale who represents Mendis told the HRCSL in a letter that Mendis who is his client had spiked a high fever and was showing other Covid-19 symptoms.
Athukorale told the Commission that a PCR test had been performed on Mendis on December 6, 2020 but the results were not yet known. However his client has not received any treatment for his symptoms so far or attention from a medical specialist, the lawyer’s letter said.
Mendis’ attorney has asked the HRCSL to intervene to have the former CID officer transferred to the the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Rajagiriya for treatment. He expresses concern that transferring Mendis to a prison hospital could endanger the officer’s life, because he had investigated many crimes during his tenure at the CID.
Mendis was also arrested in August 2020 and remanded in connection with the charge of fabricating evidence against former DIG and convicted contract killer Vaas Gunewardane as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against CID officials who investigated President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for murder, abduction and conspiracy to kill.
Mendis was also remanded along with Abeysekera at the Mahara prison where deadly unrest broke out last week killing 11 inmates.
The heavily overcrowded Mahara Prison is in the throes of a corona virus outbreak. SSP Abeysekera also tested positive for the virus and was initially transferred to a military-run treatment facility in Welikanda, sparking fears for his safety. Following an outcry and interventions by the HRCSL, Abeysekera has been transferred to the IDH, where he continues to receive treatment for the virus.
After his arrest, Mendis gave a protected statement to the Magistrate saying that officers from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) had threatened to arrest him unless he implicated SSP Shani Abeysekera and accused him of falsifying evidence in the Vaas Gunewardane case. When Mendis refused to lie, the CCD officials arrested him, the former CID sub inspector told the Gampaha Magistrate.