News Srilanka & Malaysia

SRI LANKA: A Tamil man of Indian origin was arrested, tortured and laid with fabricated charges

February 27, 2012:  The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that in 2008 Mr. A Navajeevan (27) of Rawatte Lower Division, Ukuwela in Matale District was working as a motor mechanic. Around June of 2008 the police began to arrest Tamil youths of Indian origin in the Ukuwela area. The reason for the arrests was mere suspicion due to their ethnicity and they were detained indefinitely. Navajeevan was arrested on 9 August, 2008, while he was working in the garage. At the time of arrest he was not given any explanation, nor was he shown an arrest warrant. Further, he was not accused of committing any particular crime. Navajeevan remains in prison at the time of writing without trial. He was severely tortured while in the custody of the Terrorist Investigation Division.

 

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. A Navajeevan (27) of Rawatte Lower Division, Ukuwela in Matale District is a motor mechanic by profession. In the year 2008 Navajeevan was working in a garage named Sisira Motors which is located in his village. He had been working in this establishment since leaving school. Navajeevan has one younger sister who was still attending school at that time. He helped his parents and younger sister with their living expenses. Navajeevan had a three wheeler which he used for his personal transportation.

Around June of 2008 the police began to arrest Tamil youths of Indian origin in the Ukuwela area. The reason for the arrests was mere suspicion due to their ethnicity and they were detained indefinitely. Navajeevan was arrested on 9 August, 2008, while he was working in the garage. At the time of arrest he was not given any explanation, nor was he shown an arrest warrant. Further, he was not accused of committing any particular crime. He was the only person arrested among the many other mechanics working with him in the Garage. Navajeevan realised that he was being arrested out of mere suspicion as he was a Tamil of Indian origin.

Then he was brought to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the Kandy Headquarters Police Station and detained. Three days after he was arrested, the officers of the TID started to severely torture him but still he was not given any reason for his arrest. Navajeevan was later able to identify two of the TID officers who tortured him as Yatawara and Ranaweera. Navajeevan was tortured by being hung from the ceiling and severely beaten with poles.

Then he was transferred to Galadera Police Station where he was detained for three months and later returned to the Kandy Headquarters Police Station where he was detained for a further six months. All of the interrogations were conducted at the offices of the TID and by TID staff. On each of these occasions Navajeevan was tortured. He was questioned about any relationship and any activity with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Navajeevan consistently denied any such relationship or activity and further stated that he knew nothing. He explained very clearly that he was from Ukuwela where he had been living his whole life, including his schooling and even his parents were also from the same area. He vehemently said that he knew nothing about the Northern and Easter Provinces and had at no time any connections with the people from those areas.

After several days of torture the TID officers forced Navajeevan to sign some blank papers, the purpose fo which was not explained to him. As is common in similar situations he was in fear of further torture and signed the documents as instructed. Navajeevan further states that his signature was taken to these blank papers by the very same officers who severely tortured him and that at no time was he produced before any doctor or any senior police officers or judicial officer before signing the blank papers.

Navajeevan was finally produced before the Magistrate of Kandy on the 7 May 2009 after almost nine months and remanded at the Bogambara Remand Prison. Several days after he signed the papers Navajeevan was shown to an ordinary doctor after he complained of severe headache and pain.

Later Navajeevan leaned that the TID officers have filed three cases in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court and another four cases at the Panwila Magistrate’s Court against him. He learned that a further two cases had been filed in the Kandy High Court against him by the Attorney General. He learned that the cases numbers were HC/93/2009 and HC/211/2011. He further learned that in these cases he has been accused for aiding and abetting activities of the LTTE.

Navajeevan states that he has never engaged in any such activity and has never known any person attached to that organization. He further states that he has never committed any crime and that, according to his knowledge, no one had made any complaint against him at any time

At the time of writing Navajeevan remains in the same prison without trial. Navajeevan has never been provided proper medical treatment for the injuries suffered after being subjected to severe torture. He vehemently denies all the charges made against him.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported innumerable cases of torturing innocent by the Sri Lankan police which are illegal under international and local law which have taken place at different Police Station in the country over the past few years.

The State of Sri Lanka sign and ratified the CAT on 3 January 1994. Following state obligations Sri Lanka adopted Act number 22 of 1994 the law adopted by the Sri Lankan parliament making torture a crime that can be punishable for minimum seven years and not less than ten years on being proven guilty. The Attorney General of Sri Lanka is suppose to file indictments in the case where credible evidence were found on torturing people by state officers.

 

Source : http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-034-2012/?searchterm

 

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