Home News Young man in police custody dies: Relatives blame the Batticaloa police

Young man in police custody dies: Relatives blame the Batticaloa police

Young man in police custody dies: Relatives blame the Batticaloa police
Relatives of a 22-year-old man who died when in Batticaloa police custody is accusing the police of murder.
The young man, 22-year-old Chandran Vidushan, was arrested in Irudayapuram, Batticaloa on Wednesday (02). His mother, who witnessed the arrest, told the media that the police in civilian clothing assaulted Vidushan before he was taken away.

Autopsy report

Judicial Medical Officer of the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital A. Illangovan conducted the autopsy yesterday (03). The autopsy report said Vidushan had used four packets of an illegal drug that resulted in his death.
An officer attached to the Batticaloa police said the youth was addicted to drugs and had been arrested earlier on charges of drug peddling. However, the young man’s sister says that there is a serious suspicion about his death.
The Prevention of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act says that the OIC of the relevant police station shall be fully responsible for the arrest of a suspect.

Vital evidence

Senior Counsel S.G. Punchihewa said that in an investigation into such a death, attention should be paid to what the police say or evidence that is presented including whether to summon other witnesses and family members of the deceased.
He also emphasized in some cases it is a serious matter that the magistrates do not pay attention to all the evidence and parties.
There have been discussions about the recent killings of suspects in police custody. Police are accused of taking away members of organized crime gangs in particular to find hidden weapons and killing them.
Commenting on this, the senior lawyer said that usually the police do not even call the family members of the victim in such cases and there are many instances where witnesses are reprimanded. He also pointed out that it would block the people’s right to know the truth.

Responsibility of the media

Dr. Nihal Jayawickrema, a constitutional scholar, said publizicing the suspects on media is problematic as it could hinder the investigating process.
He said that although there could be different evidence pointing that the suspects had committed crimes, the courts should make a decision about them.
“Until the verdict was obtained, the media should not be allowed to report information convincing them that they were criminals,” he said.

Responsibility of the police

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) last month requested a full report from the IGP on the killing of suspects in police custody.
HRCSL believes that occurrence of such incidents in consecutive days will create a serious problem to the rule of law in the country.
In this letter addressed to the IGP, chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Dr. Jagath Balasuriya had stated that it’s mentioned in the orders of the Police Department as well as in the Supreme Court judgments, that it is the responsibility of the Police Department to ensure the safety of the suspects in police custody.


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