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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Despite a Minister for Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission, custodial murders continue unabated

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 08 October, ( One of the most dastardly gruesome alleged custodial murders committed through torture is reported from the Eheliyagoda police. The most shocking feature of this alleged cruel crime is that two terrified, under aged children, along with their mother were forced to watch their father being brutalized throughout the day.

Sinnappan Abraham Kiragory, 41 years; married with 3 children aged 12, 11 and 7 a pavement hawker living at Hemingford Estate, Parakaduwa was taken into custody along with some of his friends, around 9.30 am on 13th August and allegedly tortured the whole day at Eheliyagoda Police by several policemen. On the 15th morning Kirogoy has died in the Ratnapura Hospital.

This is another custodial death with a history of arbitrary arrest, police excesses and abuse - a tragic case of police brutality that resulted in the needless death of an innocent man and has also left three school-going children fatherless and destitute
After the suspects were continuously tortured through morning to night, they were then taken to the Kuruvita remand prison at about 10.30 p.m but when her husband’s condition was serious he was taken to the Ratnapura Hospital in a prison vehicle and 4 prison guards stayed with him in the hospital. By the morning of the 15th the torture victim Kiragory was pronounced dead.

As a result the alleged torture of Kirogory, his wife Ms.V Pushpaleela says the children are currently suffering from severe trauma and the 7-year-old son shudders when he sees a policeman and the young one has vowed to take revenge from those who killed his father.

It was a gruelling experience for the two tiny children and the wife to watch how their farther was “murdered” – the worst style of torture and the wife of the victim describes how the policemen had crushed the bones and limbs of her husband through persistent assault with poles and batons and continued the mangling of the flesh and bones of Kiragory even after he slumped to the floor.

Accordingly to V. Pushpaleela, the wife of the deceased, on August 13, 2006, Sinnappan Abraham Kiragory together with several of his friends were arrested by the Eheliyagoda police on suspicion of committing a murder. While Kiragory and others were traveling in two three wheelers a pose of about 10 policemen alleged to be from the Eheliyagoda police in a jeep and in a while coloured van intercepted the two three wheelers and arrested Kiragory and his friends.

Pushpaleela said from the time of the arrest, the policemen who were carrying whips, lashed out at the men, tied their hands behind their back with wire and forced them into the police jeep. A policeman accompanied her and her 2 children, a girl aged 11 and a boy aged 7, in a three wheeler to the police station.

Ms. Pushpaleela says it was about 9.30 a.m. on 13 August, when they reached the police station. The 8 men including her husband were taken with their hands tied behind their back and locked up in a cell.

The police forced her and the children to sit on a bench. She was then ordered to remove all her jewellery and hand over the items; not sparing even the ear studs of her 11-year-old daughter. The police had said this was for the purposes of 'safekeeping'.

The jewellery amounted to about Rs. 70,000, according to Pushpaleela. The police had also confiscated the husband's Nokia mobile phone, his diary, ID card and other documents. Deceased’s wife said no item removed for safe keeping was returned.

According to Pushpaleela the police then began to interrogate the suspects. Each suspect was dragged out of the cell and the ten policemen pounced on him assaulting with batons, poles and clubs. They pummelled them all over their bodies heedless of their screams of agony. Her husband was so severely assaulted that she suspected his legs were broken and he slumped to the floor. One of his attackers had then jumped on his body and continued to assault him on the stomach.

The suspects were then handcuffed and put into the cell again. This 'treatment' she says continued on a rotation basis for the rest of the day. That is, each suspect was pulled out, beaten and thrown back into the cell over and over again.

At nightfall the policemen brought a bottle purported to be containing liquor and glasses. They consumed the liquor and then resumed the torture of the suspects. Despite the men complaining of their arms and legs being fractured and that they were in severe pain, no medical treatment was offered to the suspects.

The entire family was detained at the police station the entire day. The following day, the 14th about 10.30 a.m. Ms. Pushpaleela and her two children were released. But when she requested her jewellery from a police officer (a sub inspector)he refused to return them and order to come back on another day.

The police warned them not to go back to the village so she went to Colombo. Ms. Pushpaleela says she would have been further incarcerated and would have subjected to various forms of torture on her too, but luckily her brother- in- law has retained a lawyer who in-turn telephoned the police and got their release. Later, she said she has got the information that around 6.30 p.m on 14th August after the courts were closed for the day, the suspects were taken to a residence, purported to be the judge (likely to be an acting magistrate).

According to the information Pushpaleela received the torture victims were kept in the vehicle while the police obtained an order to remand them. But then, instead of taking them to the remand prison, the policemen once again took them to a building adjoining the police station, which they suspected to be the quarters of the OIC, blindfolded them and allegedly assaulted them again.

Through grave fear of reprisal Pushpaleela with her children went to one of her relative’s place in Colombo.

On August 17, she made a complaint to police headquarters in Colombo. On the 18th she returned and took possession of her husband's body. She also says that on the 19th three officers claiming to be from the CID visited her in Colombo wanting to record her statement. She was taken to the Grand pass police station where she made a statement but when she asked for their contact number, she says they have not given it.

However, Ms. Pushpaleela said that they had come in a vehicle belonging to the Eheliyagoda police and had a copy of her complaint made to the police HQ on 17th. She also complained to the Human Rights Commission on the 20th.

Wife of the murdered torture victim, Pushpaleela, is in mortal fear that she too would be murdered as she is the only witness to this police brutality and the suspected murder culprits are still continue to be in the same police station.

- Asian Tribune -

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