The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is bringing to your notice this case of alleged torture, illegal arrest and detention of Liyanage Pasindu Yasantha Perera by some officers of Kalutara District Crime Division
On the morning of 18th May 2020, Police officers attached to the Kalutara District Crime Division of the Kalutara Police arrested the complainant. From the time of arrest until the complainant was brought to the Kalutara District Crime Division he was beaten by the police officers.
The police officers tied the complainant’s hands together and then wrapped his hands and his whole body with a heavy metal chain. The complainant was then hung by his feet from a top plank of a bunk bed to which a pulley had been fixed and the pulley and a rope were used to pull the complainant into the hanging position. The complainant was beaten by the police until 1:30pm whilst in that position. They repeatedly asked him to give up a weapon, which he had no information about and was not in possession of. They also repeatedly demanded that his father handed over to them a weapon. The complainant denied having a weapon.
Complainant was later removed from this position for a short while and was permitted a visit with his father, Manjula Perera, who had arrived at the police unit.
Around 2:00pm, he was again hung by his feet in the same manner, and was left in that position till 5:30pm. He recalls that from time to time he would be beaten and demands were made of him to give the police officers of a weapon. During this time, two of the complainant’s friends were also brought into the room in which the complainant was hanging by his feet. His friends were frightened by the sight of the treatment the complainant was subjected to. His friends were questioned about the complainant and as to whether he had had a firearm in his possession. They denied seeing him in possession of a firearm. They too were extremely frightened by the experience.
After around 5:30pm, the complainant was removed from the hanging position and was forced to sit in a chair. Sub Inspector Dayasena threatened the complainant by saying “We have notified your father, he will come to take you. Don’t inform anyone about the fact that you were beaten. If you mention it to anyone, you will face charges of having drugs in your possession and we will put you in jail for 10 years.” SI Dayasena had examined the complainant’s body all over my body and asked if the complainant wanted to get any medication. Then he stated again that if the complainant opened his mouth that the police would charge him with possession of drugs and imprison him for 10 years.
At around 8:00 or 8:30pm, the complainant’s father took custody of the complainant and admitted him into the Kalutara Hospital.
On 19th May 2020 the complainant’s father, lodged a complaint with Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Kalutara District. On 20th May 2020 complaints were made to the National Human Rights Commission, National Police Commission and the Inspector General of Police. The complainant has also informed the Attorney General’s Department of the incident.
The complainant has not been notified of any steps taken in response to the complaints and to the best of the complainant’s knowledge, the police officers that beat the complainant including SI Dayasena have not been subjected to any disciplinary action, inquiry or investigations towards instituting criminal proceedings. They continue to serve in the police force without any consequence.
Various individuals including the Officer in Charge of the Kalutara District Crime Division have made several interventions demanding from the complainant that he refrain from pursuing legal redress in this matter and indicating that ‘a settlement’ is possible.