Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wadduwa case – death in police custody - April 15th 2012

From what I have been able to glean, and if anyone has more accurate facts, please feel free to comment, this is a summary of what appears to have happened. Mr Chandraisiri Dassanayake, a 42 yr father of three, was a main witness in a Human Rights Violation case against the Wadduwa Police. This case is pending.

I have no idea what the case was, but for example, if I witnessed a man in a police cell being mercilessly beaten by the OIC or others under his orders, and that man made FR case and used my name as a witness then it would be me that the OIC would consider as more of a threat to his position, than even the man who was mercilessly beaten. I might add that this merciless beating has been a common practice in Sri Lanka since the setting up of a police force. There are rules now about it to prevent this kind of behavior and legal redress in case of violation, but some in positions of power think they are above the law, being egged on by politicians for whom they do their bidding and continue this practice today. You can ask any opposition politician how many cases of police brutality are brought to their attention each month, and nothing is done about!

So this man Dassanayake was later arrested for possession of Ganja on April 15th 2012 and was in a cell in the Wadduwa police station when he was later discovered to have died, I believe it was the same day, though it could have been the day after.

The IGP in his wisdom has transferred the OIC (officer - in -charge) to Mount Lavinia, and the others to other stations. The transfer is the normal practice in such incidents, and has been in use forever as a means to convince the public that something has been done. If one reads the comments on this transfer on the Daily Mirror website, it is like he has got a promotion!!

A rational human being will ask why has this man not been interdicted or at least sent on leave prior to the investigation been completed? That is the least that can be done when there is suspected foul play. Sri Lanka police cells are notorious places for discovering suspects dead!! The police force does not think twice about resorting to this practice and I am advocating that in future, until an investigation is completed that the people under whom the suspect was incarcerated, be suspended.

The police force cannot use the age old excuse that it would reduce the morale of the force, it is simply a case of the force protecting its own, and so justice fails and the nation suffers. (Remember the website is dedicated to the betterment of the quality of life of all who live in Serendipity)

When we do not have a police commission to independently oversee this force, it is doubly important that justice is seen to be done, which clearly is not in this case as I can ascertain from the facts. I rather think this incident will just disappear from news and we will not hear its conclusion, let alone a guilty party if any, being sentenced to this crime. More to the point, the main witness in the HR violation case being dead, means the ORIGINAL case may not get a fair hearing anymore, and the suspects or culprits will go free. If that happens and there is no prosecution in this case, the message is “KILL ALL WITNESSES AND YOU GO FREE”.

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