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 Post subject: Brutes in uniform: Two more shocking cases
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:40 pm 
Brutes in uniform: Two more shocking cases
Aug 2006

Suddage Sirisena

Suddage Sirisena is a farmer from Maradankadawela in the Anuradhapura district. On August 24, he visited the village temple for a meeting. About 11 a.m. he went to the temple well to quench his thirst, when two uniform clad policemen -- whom he recognised as from the Kekirawa police station -- beckoned to him from near the temple gates.

He walked up to them when one policeman allegedly reached out and punched him on his ears. The policeman had then allegedly forced his head down and slammed his fist several times into the back of his neck. Mr. Sirisena alleges the policeman kicked him and ordered him to get on his motorbike. When Mr. Sirisena resisted and asked why he was wanted, the policeman had allegedly grabbed a helmet that was hanging from the bike handle and slammed the helmet into Mr. Sirisena's face. So forceful was this assault that Mr. Sirisena temporarily lost consciousness.

When Mr. Sirisena regained his senses, he found himself lying under a tree nearby. The policemen were nowhere in sight but a crowd had gathered around him. He says he was profusely bleeding from his nose and mouth. He felt dazed and was unable to comprehend what had befallen him.

Several people around took him to the local hospital but the hospital authorities were reluctant to admit him - probably because the village hospital was not equipped to treat his serious injuries. So he was rushed to the Kekirawa hospital where he was admitted and treated. Mr. Sirisena says the assault dislodged two front teeth and at the hospital three more teeth were extracted. It was also suspected that he suffered from a broken nose.

The next day, six policemen had visited him in hospital and recorded his statement. But he felt the questioning was more with the purpose of intimidating him than obtaining information about the incident. However, ever since he came out of hospital, he says he has been constantly harassed not to pursue the matter. The alleged perpetrator had even begged him not to complain against him in consideration of the policeman's children. The temple priest who assisted Mr. Sirisena in his time of distress also complains that he is being inundated with telephone calls from the OIC of the station and area politicians in a bid to cover up the incident.

Now Mr. Sirisena fears that if he continues to seek justice he might be arrested on some fabricated charge, hauled up before court and remanded. He also fears further physical harm. But come what may, he is determined to see justice done and has now complained to the IGP, National Police Commission and National Human Rights Commission urging them to take disciplinary and legal action against those who caused him such grievous harm. He has also asked for compensation.

Sinnappan Abraham

According to V. Pushpaleela from an estate in Parakaduwa, on August 13 her husband, Sinnappan Abraham together with several of his friends had been arrested by the Eheliyagoda police on suspicion of committing a murder. The police had also taken Ms. Pushpaleela and her two children aged 11 and 7 to the police station.

She says, the suspects' hands were tied behind their backs with wire and they were thrown into the police cell. Ms. Pushpaleela and her children were forced to sit on a bench. She was then ordered to remove all her jewellery and hand the items over - even the ear studs of her 11-year-old daughter were not spared. The police had said this was for purposes of 'safekeeping'.

Then the nightmare began. Each suspect was allegedly dragged out of the cell and about ten policemen pounced on him with batons poles and clubs. They pummelled them all over the body amidst their screams of agony. Her husband was so severely assaulted that she suspects his legs were broken and he slumped to the ground. One of his attackers had then allegedly 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 was 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 had allegedly brought a bottle of liquor and glasses. They consumed the liquor and had resumed the alleged torture of the suspects. And despite the injuries no one seemed to care and definitely no medical treatment was offered to the suspects.

However, the most shocking feature of this cruelty was that two terrified, under aged children had been forced to watch their father being brutalised. As a result Ms. Pushpaleela says the children are currently suffering from severe mental trauma and the 7-year-old shudders when he sees a policeman.

The following morning, Ms. Pushpaleela and her children were released. But when she asked for her jewellery she was told to come back another day. That evening the police had obtained a remand order and taken the men to the Kuruvita remand prison. But her husband's friends had later told Ms. Pushpaleela that before they were remanded they had been taken back to a building adjoining the police station -- which they suspected was the OIC's quarters -- blindfolded and beaten again. They had been remanded about 10.30 p.m. by which time, Mr. Abraham's condition had deteriorated to such an extent that the remand authorities rushed him to hospital. But it was all a bit too late for him for on the morning of August 15, he was dead.

Ever since her husband's death, Ms. Pushpaleela has been afraid to return to their home in Parakaduwa. Her fear has been heightened because she has heard how the police are now spreading a rumour in the Estate that as she is the only witness to the incident, she must be disposed of. But to date she claims, the policemen -- whom she can identify -- are continuing in their jobs and to all intents and purposes, she is unaware of any action being taken against them.

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