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 Post subject: Young man died of severe injuries after arrest
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:58 am 
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Call for an urgent investigation

Young man died of severe injuries 9 days after being arrested by the Koswatte Police

@ BBC Sinhala / 01 November, 2005

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has called for an investigation into the death of a young man who died of severe injuries nine days after being arrested and held in custody by the Koswatte Police.
The Hong Kong-based regional rights group urged the inspector general of police to order the Special Investigations Unit to immediately commence an investigation into the death of A. D. Lalantha Fernando, 23.

"Immediate sanctions should be imposed against all alleged perpetrators while the investigation is in progress," the AHRC said in its appeal.

"If it is found that the alleged perpetrators committed crimes against the victim, they must be indicted under the CAT Act No. 22 of 1994," it said.

According to AHRC sources, Lalantha was taken from his uncle's house after the family lodged a complaint with the police over a stolen necklace and disputed land.

When the victim’s family proceeded to the Koswatte Police station to report the matter, the police refused to take a report and instead assigned two policemen to try and locate Lalantha.

Acting on information reportedly obtained from a policeman who was allegedly involved in the case, Sub Inspector (SI) Nilanga Perera, the family found the victim lying battered and semi-conscious at Tunmodera.

Lalantha remained in the National Hospital in Colombo for nine days before dying on October 19.

A post-mortem report concluded that he died as a result of force from a blunt instrument applied to his head, chest, and kidneys.

Lalantha’s death has sparked strong protest among the local population and media.

Under heavy pressure, SI Perera has been transferred out of his station pending inquiries. The other policemen allegedly involved, however, have not been charged or sanctioned and have continued to report for duty as usual.

There are grave concerns for the safety of other family members.

"Should there be threats against the complainants in the course of seeking redress for grievances, appropriate protection must be afforded by the government to them," the AHRC said.

"The government of Sri Lanka, in particular the National Human Rights Commission should also ensure that appropriate compensation is provided to the victim’s family if it is established that the police are guilty of the victim’s death," it added.


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