The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding a young man of the age of 17 who was illegally arrested by officers from the Kandaketiya police and severely tortured along with his brother and another family member. Despite appeals by his parents and lawyers the Magistrate who heard the case presented by the police ignored face that he had been tortured. Denied of medical treatment, P.H. Sadun Mallinga died in the remand prison while his brother held him in his arms.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has learned that a 17-year-old boy named, P.H. Sadun Mallinga, from Atturukudua, Megahakiula, was arrested in the company of his brother, P.H. Kashun Nirage Maduwa, and a another relative and was brutally assaulted by a group of policemen from the Kandaketiya police without any reason.
On 7 May 2014, the three young men Sadun Mallinga went to see a three-wheeler which was to be sold. On the way they were caught by a group of ten policemen which included Sub Inspector (SI) R.M.P.
Somaratne. They were assaulted upon arrest and thereafter taken to the police station where the assault continued.
At the station Sadun Mallinga complained about the severe pain he was suffering and requested medical treatment. However, the police officers ignored his pleas and placed them in a cell. The next day at around 2:30 pm when the parents arrived at the police station they found Sadun Mallinga crying out loudly in pain. The boy told his parents that SI Somaratne and several other officers had assaulted him and that he had severe chest pains. His mother immediately begged the police officers to take her son to a hospital. However, they told her that no senior officer was present to make such an order and that they should come back the next day.
The parents returned the following day and found their son lying on the floor of the cell and complaining about chest pains. The parents again pleaded with the police to send their child to a hospital.
However, the police refused and cursed them in foul language. They told the parents that their sons would be produced in the Magistrate’s Court of Badulla on the same day. The parents duly went to that court but the boys were not produced. Later, upon telephoning the police station they found that the boys had been taken to the court at Passara.
The parents then went to the Passara Police Station and sought the help of two lawyers, requesting them also to inform the court that Sadun Mallinga had been severely assaulted by the police. As the boy and the other accused were produced in court only at around 3 pm and as the official work of the court was finished the case was taken up at the Magistrate’s Chambers. The police requested the Magistrate to remand the accused until May 21. The lawyers who appeared for the suspects informed the Magistrate that Sadun Mallinga had been severely assaulted and needed medical treatment and furthermore, Sadun Mallinga himself told the Magistrate that he had been assaulted by the police.
However, the lady magistrate ignored the comments by the both the lawyers and Sadun Mallinga and did not make any order regarding medical treatment. Complying with the requests of the police she remanded the suspects until May 21.
Accordingly the suspects were then taken into remand and the parents informed the prison officers that their son had been assaulted and needed medical treatment. However, the prison authorities did not take any steps to refer him even to the prison hospital.
On morning of May 9, Sadun Mallinga died as his brother was holding him in his arms. The following day the boy’s body was subjected to a post mortem where the Judicial Medical Officer concluded that the reason for his death was internal bleeding caused by the assault.
This is an appalling situation in which, not only did the police brutally assault an innocent young man but the lady magistrate, when confronted with firsthand testimony from the victim himself, ignored his request for medical treatment. Added to this was the denial of the remand prison officers to send the boy to the prison hospital ward.
The negligence of these state officials caused the death of this young man, 17-year-old P.H. Sadun Mallinga.
The AHRC demands that the police officers, including SI R.M.P.
Somaratne, the lady magistrate of the Passara Magistrate’s Court and the prison officers be held accountable for the death of Sadun Mallinga. Suitable compensation should be paid to the grieving family and all charges dropped against the victim’s brother and cousin.
The scandalous situation is that while all these culprits to a murder remain scot free the family of the deceased child is further tormented due to the orders of the Magistrate to keep the other family members in remand. The family is aware that Sadun Mallinga’s brother in whose arms he died is in severe mental distress and the family is afraid that he may suffer a complete breakdown but they are unable to do anything as he is being kept in remand on court orders.
Torture and custodial deaths are ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka where the state and the hierarchy of the police and prison services turn a blind eye to the problem. The judiciary is complicit in this situation as frequently the magistrates and judges, for reasons of convenience, simply follow the dictates of the police when remanding suspects. This is not the first time that a magistrate has ignored direct evidence that a suspect had been brutally tortured.
Please write to the authorities listed below demanding an immediate and impartial investigation into the torture and death of P.H. Sadun Mallinga. The police officers responsible for the torture and the lady magistrate and prison officers who ignored the pleas of the victim himself and his parents to provide medical attention must be held responsible for his death.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for his intervention in this matter.
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