Abductions on rise in Colombo
An abduction was reported in front of the Court complex on Monday and a body of a male was dumped and burnt near SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s private residence in Boteju Mawatha in Colombo 05 on Tuesday while the fate of a leading Tamil businessman who was abducted on Saturday still remained in the hands of the abductors who have claimed 100 million rupees ransom from his family.
On Tuesday morning around 9.30 a.m. unknown persons who arrived in a white van dumped a male body and burnt it in front of SL President’s private residence.
Earlier on Monday, an abduction was reported as the victim of the incident was walking out of Court complex. His whereabouts are still unknown.
On Saturday, around 7 armed men who came in a white van abducted the Tamil businessman Ramasamy Prabhakaran.
Hong Kong-based rights watchdog, Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), on Wednesday issued the following statement with details on the abduction of Mr. Ramasamy Prabhakaran:
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that a man who was tortured and illegally detained for 28 months was abducted before the Supreme Court could hear his Fundamental Rights application. The AHRC has in the past documented similar cases wherein police officials were directly involved in abducting and murdering torture victims to deliberately prevent them from testifying before court.
At 3:30pm on 11 February, 2012, Mr. Ramasamy Prabakaran was forcibly abducted in the presence of his wife, Shiromi and their daughter, near their home in Canal Bank Road, Wellawatte. Prabakaran, who owns Panama Traders, an electronic shop in Majestic City Complex, is a Tamil of Indian origin.
The Supreme Court was to hear his Fundamental Rights application on February 13. Please read our comments via our Open Letter to the Attorney General.
It is reported that the abductors, armed with assault rifles and shotguns, hid in the immediate vicinity of their home before they abducted Prabakaran. They took him into their ‘white van’ which was waiting nearby before they hurriedly left towards the direction of Dehiwela. The abduction happened in open view of the public; however, none of those who had seen the abduction and plea of the victim’s wife had come to help. The reluctance and fear of the people to intervene is due, no doubt, to the widely held belief that these white van abductions are actually perpetrated by the security forces themselves. Prabakaran’s wife, Shiromi, noted the registration number of the white van and immediately reported it to the Wellawatte Police. However, she was told that, "the number plates were false and the vehicle could not be traced".
The AHRC is of the opinion that the abduction of Prabakaran was deliberately done to prevent any possibilities of remedies by way of preventing him from testifying to the Supreme Court.
In the past, two torture victims were also assassinated. They are Gerald Perera, who was killed a few days before he was to give evidence before the Negombo High Court and Sugath Nishantha Fernando, who was also murdered as he was pursuing a Fundamental Rights application following the torture he and his family endured at the hands of the police.
Like Perera and Fernando, Prabakaran was had also been illegally arrested, detained and tortured from May 2009 before he was released in September 2011 due to lack of evidence and all charges against him were dropped. He was accused of being an LTTE member. In the police custody, he was interrogated, assaulted and tortured by senior police officers.
After his release, Prabakaran filed a fundamental rights application at the Supreme Court alleging "unlawful arrest and detention". The Supreme Court was to hear his application after it granted leave to proceed. In addition to his fundamental rights petition, he also filed a separate motion asking the court to order the police to unseal the premises of his business, on which the police had continuously kept sealed despite his acquittal by the court from the charges filed on him.
In the fundamental rights petition, Prabakaran’s counsels, Romesh de Silva P.C. and K.S. Rathnavel, named Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vaas Gunawardena, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Anura Senanayake, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the Attorney General (AG), and eight others as respondents. After his release, in March 2011 Prabakaran wrote to the Secretariat of the Committee against Torture asking for their intervention and giving details on how he was arrested, detained and tortured. The full text is below: 6767 Magazine Prison