Remand prisoner 'beaten to death
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Author:  Sena [ Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  Remand prisoner 'beaten to death

Remand prisoner 'beaten to death'

07 July, 2006 - Published 14:04 GMT

The police and prison officials in Sri Lanka are accused of beating to death a remand prisoner in Ratnapura prison.

Sunil Bermin Perera was arrested by the police on 29 June on suspicion of spreading rumours that the Tamil Tigers were planning to attack schools.

Chitra Perera, wife of the deceased, said her husband was in very good health when he was arrested and remanded by the Kuruwita police.

“He barely walked when I visited him in the remand prison on 01 July,” she told BBC Sandeshaya.

LTTE 'targetting schools'

He was acquitted and released by the courts on 03 July as the telephone bill revealed that Perera has not made any threatening calls to the schools.

“But the Kuruwita prison authorities refused to release him when we went there with the court order,” Chitra Perera said.

She told that her husband did not even recognise her when she visited him that evening.

Many schools were forced to close last week after they received annonymous telephone calls that LTTE was targetting school children.

'Diabetic patient'

The authoties warned of "severe punishment" for those spread rumours.

However, Commissioner of Prisons Major General Vajira Vijegunawardhana denied the accusations that prison authrities were to blame for the death of Perea.

A special team investigating the death has revealed, he said, that Perera was “a diabetic patient with a bad habit of drinking”.

Prisons chief said he would take “necessary steps” if proved that the prison officials are responsible for his death.

US report

The annual report of the US state Department on Sri Lanka was highly critical of Sri Lanka police over killings and torture in police custody.

“The Human Rights Commission (HRC) reported that police killed 25 individuals in police custody. The HRC determined that 20 of those individuals died as a result of torture in police custody,” the report issued in March stated.

According to Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), it was the first time that the US government has listed extrajudicial killings by the police in the annual report.

There have been 1798 arrests under the emergency regulations during the year, according to the report.


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