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Police Officers Arrested in Connection with Disappearance 13 Years Ago


Two police officers serving at Alawwa Police were arrested on May 4, 2024, by officers from the Group Robbery Investigation Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with a suspected disappearance and unlawful detention that occurred 13 years ago.

The arrested officers are Sergeant A.L. Kumara and Constable R.D.S.B. Rajapaksha. Both officers were produced before the Polgahawela Magistrate’s Court and were released on bail of Rs. 50,000 each.

The incident, believed to have occurred around July 25, 2010, also led to the arrest of Chief Inspector Saman Kumara Disanayake, who was serving as the head of the Alawwa Police Crime Division at the time. Disanayake was arrested by the CID on December 11ල 2023 while serving as the head of the Administrative Division at Mirigama Police Station. He was subsequently released on bail.

The officers are accused of unlawfully detaining Ganeralalage Shantha Samaraweera, a resident of Kegalle, who was later reported missing. The arrests were made following an investigation initiated by a complaint received at police headquarters, stemming from a petition filed by Shantha Samaraweera’s sister with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

The police claim that Shantha Samaraweera escaped after being admitted to the hospital. According to a 2019 report by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), Shantha was held in an underground torture chamber at the Trincomalee Naval Base. Another detainee, Basnayaka MudiyanscIelage Wijayakanth, who was held at the same location, later informed the CID that Shantha was detained with him. Wijayakanth also mentioned that Pragith Nisansala Withanarachchi, a resident of Ibbagamuwa, Kurunegala, was detained at the same place. Wijayakanth had served as an informant for the Navy.

Lalitha Jayasinghe, Shantha Samaraweera’s sister, informed the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka that she met her brother at the Mirigama Police Station on July 25, 2022, along with lawyer Chula Ranjeewa Adhikari. Initially, the police denied having Shantha in custody, but later, due to the lawyer’s intervention, she was shown her brother. The police stated that he would be presented in court the following Monday.

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