Suspects in police custody are killed : Orders to remain ‘Wele Suda’ within the prison walls

Gampola Vidanalage Samantha Kumara alias ‘Wele Suda’ is not to be taken out of the Boossa Prison by, the Court of Appeal ordered the Superintendent of Boossa Prison yesterday(17).
The order has been issued preventing him from being taken out of the prison with effect until the 24th of this month.The order was issued after considering a Writ petition filed by his mother, R.G. Malani, before the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, Justices Arjuna Obeysekera and Priyantha Fernando.President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared for the petitioner and stated that she feared that since there is a risk of suspects who are currently in police custody are being taken out and killed, the petitioner’s son would suffer the same fate.The Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal at the time pointed out that notice should be issued to the respondents for consideration of such an interim order and directed them to send notices to the Commissioner General of Prisons, Boossa Prison Superintendent, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General who have been named as respondents in the petition.
The petition is due to be heard on the 24th.

Two recent examples

Mabulage Dineth Mabula alias ‘Uru Juwa’, who was released from the Angunakolapelessa prison on the 10th, was re-arrested by the police on the 11th. Navagamuwa police had told him that he had been arrested to find hidden weapons, reported the media, quoting his family members.
Commenting on this, the Chairman of the Committee to Protect the Rights of Prisoners Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, said that the aforesaid statement is frightening. He added that the reason for this was that taking away to find hidden weapons implies a different meaning. Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera has written in this regard on his Facebook page at 10.30 pm on the 11th.
‘The suspect Dineth Melan (Uru Jua) who was released on bail from Boossa Prison yesterday has been re-arrested and is currently being held at the Navagamuwa Police Station. His lawyer told police he had to be taken in for questioning and hidden weapons were to be found. We do not forget how many of the suspects who were taken in search of weapons made it back after the journey. We would not be surprised if the proper law enforcement agency complied with the law of the jungle.’
The suspect was killed that night. Police Media Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana had told the media on the morning of the 12th that the suspect had been arrested by the Navagamuwa Police and a statement had been recorded.
After that, he had been taken to the Wanduramulla area in Navagamuwa for an investigation. He was admitted to the hospital after being assaulted by the police in an incident there, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Confirming suspicions

Mother of Dharmakeerthilage Tharaka Wijesekera alias Kosgoda Tharaka, Angampodig Janaki de Zoysa had requested the authorities through Attorney-at-Law Anoj Hettiarachchi to save the life of her son who had been taken to the Peliyagoda Special Crime Investigation Unit on 12th May. These requests had been made to the Human Rights Commission, the IGP, the Director of the CID and the OIC of the Special Investigation Unit.
‘I have learned that the suspect who was detained at the Public Complaints Division of the CID has been handed over to the Peliyagoda Special Criminal Investigation Unit. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Hon. Court have been informed on several occasions that the life of this suspect has been threatened. The full custody of the suspect is now vested in the relevant unit of your department. ‘
Attorney-at-Law Anoj Hettiarachchi has sent a letter to the IGP regarding the suspect. The suspect was killed the same night.

Non-judicial killings

A statement issued by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka also stated regarding this.
The statement added that the President of the Bar Association had written to the IGP stating that it is the duty of the police and the government to protect the persons in its custody and that it has been reiterated in many Supreme Court decisions that the government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of those in its custody.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had also said that such deaths are against the rule of law and would tarnish Sri Lanka’s reputation and should be punished only after prosecuting those convicted of serious crimes, including murder. The Bar also emphasized   the IGP that the all such deaths had all the hallmarks of extra-judicial killings and called for the safety of those in custody
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