Posted on May 6, 2010 by srilankalawlessness
MCM Iqbal, Secretary to several commissions of inquiry in Involuntary Disappearances recalls some of narratives of cases told by witness before the commissions. This is from a taped interview with Basil Fernando
Since I was secretary at two of the separate evidence commissions that were conducting inquiries into disappearances during the so-called period of terror, from the late 1980s to the middle of the 1990s I was able to listen to the evidence given by many of the complainants personally, I was present when the inquiries were being conducted.
And some of the cases remain in my mind, because they were so gory, such brutal cases that I can recollect most of the information pertaining to them. I will just narrate a few of them to give a sample of the kind of brutality that existed during that period.
There was a mother, she was about 60 or a little more than that, who came before the commission. She said that since her son had disappeared, she had been looking for him everywhere until she heard from somebody that there were hundreds of heads of people who had been killed and planted on posts around the valley, on Kappetipola Road in the hill country of Sri Lanka. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, child rights, civil society, corruption, disappearances, human rights, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 24, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
Gerald became a friend of mine through unfortunate circumstances. He was the victim of torture at the hands of an Assistant Superintendent of Police and a group of policemen attached to the Wattala police station.
Further misfortune was to follow. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, presided over by late Justice Mark Fernando, granted him all the relief that he claimed by holding against all police officers and awarding a recorded sum as compensation in a fundamental rights case.
It was only at this stage that Attorney General’s department thought of launching a criminal investigation against the police officers, which finally led to the filing of an indictment under the Convention Against Torture Act. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, civil society, corruption, crime, extrajudicial killings, human rights, justice, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 26, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
I am writing this on behalf of the Asian Human Rights Commission on a matter that is, I am sure that of great importance and urgency to all the members of parliament, whatever political party they might belong to. This is the issue of extreme lawlessness within the policing system which is causing shock, scandal and fear among the people. There is no doubt that you will agree on the seriousness of the problem and there is a need to act decisively to change this situation.
The executive president and the prime minister have acknowledged the problem and made public statements regarding the issue. However, there is no sign of any serious effort or an indication of a plan to deal with this national problem. Mere prosecution of a few police officers of lower ranks relating to a few incidents is no real response to this enormous crisis. (more…)
Filed under: 17th Amendment, abductions, civil society, corruption, crime, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, human rights, illegal arrest, justice, media, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 15, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
Bribery and Extortion are the causes of Police abuse of power
”That gentleman [OIC] can’t stand the sight of young boys. He arrests them and takes them to the police station and assaults them. Parents go to the police station and pay money to get the boys released. He arrests the boys in order to make money. We also went to the police station when we heard about the arrest of our son, and we took money to give him. But we were not shown the boy and we were unable to rescue him,” said the mother of Tharanga Fernando to the BBC Sinhala service. Tharanga Fernando was one of the two boys killed after arrest by police officers from Angulana police station.
The father of the boy said, “When we went to the police station we found that all the police officers were heavily drunk.”
The Angulana police murders of two youths, Dinesh Tharanga Fernando and Danushka Udaya, has shaken the whole area and led to violent protests by a large number of people from the area. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, Bribery Commission, civil society, corruption, crime, extrajudicial killings, human rights, IGP, illegal arrest, illegal detention, justice, police, politics, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 14, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
The Sri Lankan government has announced that all national public functions will require permission from the Ministry of Defense; all regional events will require approval from the nearest police station. This will have disastrous effects.
Most worrying is the granting of additional powers to local police that are already a serious problem to the population due to widespread corruption. The new powers, which make police the arbiters on the type of functions that can be conducted, are likely to provide more opportunities for corruption accompanied by all forms of harassment.
A recent volume of Article 2, a quarterly publication of the Asian Legal Resource Center, describes the use of powers of arrest and detention by the police in several Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, for the purpose of making money. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, civil war, corruption, crime, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, Human Rights Commission, justice, National Police Commission, police, politics, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 2, 2009 by srilankalawlessness
Three prisoners were killed within the premises of the Negombo Prison, in the west coast Sri Lankan city of Negombo last week. One of the prisoners reportedly shot two others with a pistol and then climbed a tree, announcing he would surrender only if the commissioner of prisons came to the scene.
This was perhaps to avoid being assaulted or otherwise harmed when he surrendered. However, prison authorities called the police and the officer in charge arbitrarily ordered him to be shot.
The two prisoners shot first were brothers, Ajith and Asitha Silva, and the assailant was Chaminda Samara Silva, an army deserter.
Following the murders several newspaper articles appeared, based on the version of events provided by prison authorities. These said that the assailant belonged to an underground group on whose orders he had killed the other two, who belonged to a second underground group. However, no independent evidence has confirmed this, nor has an independent inquiry into the incident by the Criminal Investigation Division been ordered. (more…)
Filed under: abductions, civil society, corruption, crime, extrajudicial killings, rule of law, Sri Lanka, Supreme Court, violations, witness protection | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 6, 2008 by srilankalawlessness
Negombo is just a short distance from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and is far away from the north and the east where a military conflict is under way. However, the extent of lawlessness there does not reflect that distance. The law virtually does not exist. You can commit murder and get away with it without much of a problem. The best friends that criminals can have in the area are the policemen.
Seven of these policemen were transferred after a huge local and international protest following the murder of Sugath Nishanta Fernando, who was a complainant in a bribery case and a torture case in which 12 policemen of the Negombo area were the accused and respondents. The man had complained to the Inspector General of Police, the Human Rights Commission and the National Police Commission about death threats made to him and his wife and asked for protection.
The Asian Human Rights Commission wrote to the minister and the secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights and also the IGP, the HRCSL and the NPC. (more…)
Filed under: attorney general, Bribery Commission, civil society, corruption, crime, extrajudicial killings, human rights, Human Rights Commission, IIGEP, justice, National Police Commission, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, Supreme Court, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 17, 2008 by srilankalawlessness
The humiliation and harassment of lawyers as well as those they represent at the hands of police officers is becoming increasingly common in Sri Lanka, as the following incident illustrates.
An attorney of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, D.W.C. Mohotti, who is also a member of the Bar Association, narrated in an affidavit the harassment he suffered while accompanying a client to the Bambilipitya Police Station last month.
On the instructions of Ranil Samarasuriya, a senior lawyer practicing in Colombo, Mohotti took his client, K.P. Anil Rupasinghe, to the Bambilipitya Police Station on several occasions. However, the police stated that Rupasinghe’s presence was not required and he would be called if it were.
When Rupasinghe received a notice asking him to appear at the police station on Oct. 24, Mohotti accompanied him. The lawyer met the officer-in-charge of the crime branch, who introduced him to the headquarters inspector, Upul Seneviratne. (more…)
Filed under: corruption, crime, human rights, justice, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, Supreme Court, violations, witness protection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 1, 2008 by srilankalawlessness
Killing a person in Sri Lanka has become as easy as a child bursting a balloon. The inquiry before the Negombo High Court regarding the assassination of Sugath Nishanta Fernando is just one example. Nishanta Fernando, a man who had complained to Sri Lankan authorities about death threats he received to withdraw a case he filed against several Negombo police officers, was shot dead in broad daylight last Saturday, Sept. 20.
At 10 a.m., on a busy street, two persons riding a motorbike shot Nishanta Fernando, who was driving a vehicle, twice with a rifle and fled without difficulty. The deceased’s wife told the court in no uncertain terms that she suspects a number of police officers. This story does not surprise Sri Lankans; such crimes can happen to anyone, at any time, in any part of Sri Lanka, despite widespread police checkpoints.
At the time, Nishanta Fernando was the complainant of a bribery case proceeding before the Colombo High Court against a police inspector and had repeatedly appealed for protection against death threats. A translation of the affidavit attached to all the appeals reads as follows: (more…)
Filed under: abductions, Bribery Commission, civil society, corruption, crime, extrajudicial killings, human rights, justice, police, rule of law, Sri Lanka, torture, violations, witness protection | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 21, 2008 by srilankalawlessness
An international panel invited to Sri Lanka to assist with investigations into human rights abuses has abandoned that task. The group’s members were convinced, after a year of strenuous effort, that they had been trapped in a futile exercise from the point of view of justice and human rights and that the only purpose they were expected to fulfill was to lend credibility to a sinister plot to deny justice. Having seen through the illusion it was only natural for them to have abandoned it.
The 11-member International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, consisting of representatives from India, France, Indonesia, the United States, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Canada, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, abandoned their efforts to assist the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Violations of Human Rights.
The departing international experts submitted a report to the president in which they blamed the government for the absence of will to inquire into violations of rights and to ensure respect for the norms of justice and human rights. (more…)
Filed under: attorney general, crime, human rights, international panel, justice, rule of law, Sri Lanka, violations, witness protection | Tagged: IIGEP | Leave a Comment »