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Panadura North police assaults Sinhala resident, victim denied justice

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 May 2010 13:58 No Comment]

A 32-year-old Sinhala resident of Panadura, south of Colombo, was dragged from his house on May 02 and was beaten unconscious by Panadura North Police. The police did not show any warrant or informed the victim of the complaint. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Thursday said: "Although the hospital arranged for a report by a Judicial Medical Officer and hospital police took a statement, the magistrate who saw him after his discharge asked for neither and remanded him. He was not allowed to collect his prescribed medicine from the hospital. The victim has been released on bail but his wife’s complaints against the police have reportedly not been responded to by the authorities. The family fears further intimidation."

The victim believes that the arrest is related to a property dispute with his wife’s brother.

Full text of the report AHRC follows:

A man is beaten by Panadura police but denied a judicial remedy

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about an illegal arrest and assault by Panadura North police. A man was dragged from his house early in the morning without being shown a warrant or informed of the complaint against him and was beaten unconscious. Although the hospital arranged for a report by a Judicial Medical Officer and hospital police took a statement, the magistrate who saw him after his discharge asked for neither and remanded him. He was not allowed to collect his prescribed medicine from the hospital. The victim has been released on bail but his wife’s complaints against the police have reportedly not been responded to by the authorities. The family fears further intimidation.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to information received from Danusha Dilani, 31, her family was woken at 1:30am on 2 April 2010 by two policemen from the Panadura North police. The men arrived in a three wheeler with one of them in uniform and they told Danusha’s husband, Malawiarachchige Mahinda to go with them to the police station. Mahinda is 32 and works for the Sri Lanka Transport Board in Panadura.

The officers reportedly did not explain the reasons for their request and did not produce a warrant when asked for one. After Mahinda told police that he had an important appointment that morning and couldn’t come with them, yet he was dragged into the street towards the vehicle. He then reportedly offered to visit the station later instead. The officers then beat and kicked him, particularly injuring one of his legs, before calling for a police jeep and loading him into it. Danusha and the two children joined him.

Danusha reports that when the jeep reached the police station Mahinda was unconscious. She learned there that a complaint of assault and property damage had been taken against him, and says that police made threats: that they would arrange for a medical report to question her husband’s mental state and would have him fired from his job. They then took Mahinda, still unconscious, to the Panadura Base Hospital where he was placed on ward one.

Mahinda revived and informed the doctor about the assault. A statement was taken by the hospital police and the Judicial Medical Officer examined him. However he was under police guard and we are told that he was then discharged from the hospital and taken to the police station at around noon that day, without having seen a medical report and without being allowed to collect his prescribed medicine.

Mahinda was reportedly kept in a cell until around 3pm and then taken to the house of a magistrate in Gorakana, where he alleges that he tried to tell the magistrate about the assault. We understand however that his right to have this statement taken down in court records was not respected. The magistrate also did not order for a criminal investigation to be launched, but ordered his remand until 5 April 2010, when he was released on Rs.200,000 surety bail (Case No. 89883).

Mahinda’s wife has not received any official response to her complaints, which include a fax to the Inspector General of Police on 2 April, a meeting with the Senior Superintendent of the Panadura police and the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Cooray, and a fax to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the SSP by fax on 3 April.

The victim believes that the arrest is related to a property dispute with his wife’s brother.

[Full Coverage]

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