Kuruwita prisoner alleged torture case Complaint to be handed over to UN

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By 2018-01-16

By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

The Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) and Dilsha Kumari, wife of Kuruwita prison inmate, Jeewananda Rajapaksa, who was allegedly brutally assaulted and subsequently hospitalized, will hand over a complaint to the UN Head Office in Colombo today (16) seeking justice.

Previously, on 10 January, they handed over a letter to Police Headquarters (HQ) alleging apathy on the part of the Kuruwita Police and urged an urgent remedy to be provided as this was an alleged case of torture. The victim has since been transferred to the Kegalle Prison.

The victim was initially warded at the Ratnapura General Hospital and treated for broken limbs following an assault which had allegedly taken place at the hands of the Kuruwita Prison officers on 28 December last year. He has since been discharged and admitted to the Prison Hospital. Although a complaint regarding the assault had been lodged by the victim's spouse and older sister Ganga Senani Rajapaksa on the night of 28 December 2017. The names of Kuruwita Prison Superintendent S.R. Jayaweera de Silva and a Kuruwita Prison Jailor named Udayakumara had also been mentioned by the detainee in the complaint, according to the Chairman of the CPRP, attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, Kumari and Ganga Senani Rajapaksa, no action had yet been taken by the Kuruwita Police to mete out justice to the victim by questioning the suspects or apprehending the culprits.

Jeewananda Rajapaksa had,previously ,lodged a complaint against certain Prisons officers at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), alleging continued harassment and threats, including death threats.

Further, according to the victim's wife, two weeks prior to the most recent incident, the prisoner had requested for a transfer to another prison, from the relevant authorities including the Ministry of Prison Reforms. The request had not been granted.

Perera, however, added that they would file a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court over this matter. "Repeated attempts made by Kumari to contact the IGP over the phone yesterday (15) failed. Police HQ informed that an appointment had to be made if a person wanted to meet the IGP. We say that this is a case of torture and that this cannot therefore be delayed in such a manner. An urgent remedy is required. The Kuruwita Police need not seek the advice of the Attorney General at this juncture, prior to filing the case. They can do so after they file the case", he added.

Media Spokesman of the Department of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya and Police Media Spokesman Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekera were not available for a comment.

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