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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Attempted sexual favors and torture by some excise officers

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 13 June, ( In addition to the spate of human rights abuses by the police and several unaccounted custodial deaths, now comes a human rights abuse by some officers of the Panadura Excise Station. The abuse has been seriously compounded due to in addition to the torture of the victim, these officers have allegedly attempted forcing sexual favors on the wife of the victim on the pretext of seeking her cooperation ‘allowing a settlement in her husband’s case.

On 17 May 2008, four officers attached to the Excise Station of Panadura went to the house where the victim, and his wife, lives. The officers were looking for the victim, who is alleged to be selling prohibited liquor, but he was not in.

Shortly after the officers left, the victim’s wife heard some noise near their house and saw her husband being assaulted. She ran to the scene and begged the officers to stop assaulting her husband. However, the officers ignored her plea and continued beating him.

The victim’s wife however, was able to recognize three of the four officers and remembered that they were noted as drug addicts. These officers assaulted her husband with poles. They also punched and kicked him.

After having the victim being severely beaten, the excise officers then demanded from him bottles of prohibited liquor that he was reportedly selling. He gave them two bottles of arrack. As he passed on the money worth Rs. 850 from his pocket to his wife, one of the officers forcibly took the money from her by allegedly suddenly thrusting his hand into her blouse where she hid the money.

The same officers then took the torture victim into their vehicle and they took him to the Panadura Excise Station. The wife followed them in a three-wheeler. The victim was however, released on bail from the officer's custody and the victim came home the same day. The officers though warned him from going to hospital to get medical treatment for the injuries he sustained following his arrest and assault. They also told him to return to the Excise Station on the following day.

When the wife and the victim went to the Excise Station on May 18, the Officer-in-Charge ordered the victim out of his room. He then took another officer in order to forcibly take the wife’s finger prints from about ten bottles of prohibited liquor. When the wife refused to do so, the officers threatened her that they would assault her husband once again if she refuses to comply with their order; thus, she had no choice but to cooperate with them.

The OIC summoned the victim’s wife into his room and told her that he could arrange for some settlement or relief on her husband’s case if she would closely follow his orders and cooperate with him. The OIC asked her to come close to him and when she went, she was told that he will put her to a job. But she was asked that she must send the victim to work every day and not to keep him at home. She was told to keep the phone near her.

The wife then feared that the OIC was getting ready to make sexual advances on her and thus passing ugly messages to take mean advantage out of their desperate situation.

On the same day both the victim and his wife went to the Panadura South Police Station where she met the Head Quarters Inspector. There she lodged a complaint about the torture of her husband and about the officer attempting sexual advantage of her.
The Head Quarters Inspector then referred her case to the 119 Police Squad who recorded her statement.

On May 19, due to the severity of the assault the victim admitted himself to the Panadura Hospital. There, the victim and his wife described the story of physical torture that the Excise Officers had perpetrated on the victim to the doctor, who examined the victim. The doctors admitted the victim in ward No. 1. The medical examination revealed that he suffered from hearing loss after his ears were seriously affected by the assault.

On May 21, Stanley was discharged from the hospital. On the same day they – the victim and his wife lodged complaints about her husband's arrest and subsequent torture before the Commissioner General of Excise, the Secretary of the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

However, it appears that there has not been any substantial progress so far regarding any action taken by any of the authorities where the complaint has been filed.

- Asian Tribune -

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