South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By Susitha R. Fernando

A Lieutenant Colonel from Sri Lanka Army complained to the Supreme Court that he was arrested by the police and inhumanly tortured for nearly five months causing him life threatening injuries.

Following the fundamental rights action filed by Lieutenant Colonel W. A. R. C. Perera, on the direction of the Supreme Court, the Chief Consultant Judicial Medical Officer, Colombo had issued a Medico-Legal report on the alleged assault which concluded that such injuries he had received could have resulted in endangering his life.

Chief Consultant JMP, Dr. Ananda Samarasekera, in his report to the Supreme Court had ruled that the medical evidence had proved the alleged inhuman assault by the police and following the assault was in a life threatening condition.

Lt. Col. Perera in his application had cited Director, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Inspector General of Police, Mahinda Balasuriya, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the Attorney General as respondents.

Supporting the application before the Supreme Court, counsel J. C. Weliamuna stated that Lt. Col. Perera having enlisted in the Sri Lanka Army as a Cadet Officer in 1985 rose to the present position and he had served in a number of battles against LTTE including Vadamarachchi 1987, Akunu Pahara 1991, Asaka Sena 1991, Riviresa 1995, Sath Jaya 1998, Kinihira 2001 and Agni Keela in 2002 and had received a number of honorary medals like Gallantry Awards twice,  Vadamarachchi Operation medal and Riviresa Campaign Service Medal. However on May 14, 2009 he had been arrested by the police at the Ratmalana Transit Camp and interrogated on alleged association with LTTE suspects and later arrested on a charge of committing offences against the state. Subsequently on May 22, 2009 he was incarcerated at the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) where he was blindfolded and savagely assaulted on four separate occasions during the course of the day. Later he had been produced before the Mount Lavinia Magistrae and further detained under CCD. Again on June 22, 2009 he had been assaulted after being blindfolded until he got unconscious. Later when he regained consciousness he had been brutally assaulted causing grievous injuries. On the following day he had been examined by a medical officer and on whose advise the CCD had to admitted him at the Colombo General Hospital from where he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Lt. Col. Perera in his fundamental rights application stated that he was a law abiding citizen and a dutiful officer of the Sri Lanka Army and the allegation he had with the LTTE was false. He asked the Supreme Court to rule that his fundamental rights were violated by the respondents with the alleged arrest and inhuman torture. He asked court to issue an interim order releasing him from the detention under any condition.

The Supreme Court fixed the hearing for June 2, 2011.

Source: The Daily Mirror – 03.03.2011