පොලිසිය ‌මුලික අයිතින් කඩ කරලා නෑ. පොඩි කුමාරි හාමි ජාත්‍යන්තරයට යයිද?

 

1'

TORTURE, THREATS AND HARASSMENT AGAINST PODIKUMARIHAMI AND HER FAMILY BY THE MAHIYANGANA POLICE

(07th September, 2018)  Today there was an attempt to plant a parcel of Cannabis at Podikumarihami’s house. Her estranged husband had come home after many days, and planted it under her mattress. Having noticed him going near her bed, Podikumarihami had become suspicious of his behavior and gone to check under her mattress, only to find a parcel of Cannabis there. Thereafter, Podikumarihami and her son had questioned her estranged husband, and he had divulged that officers from the Mahiyangana police had given him the parcel to be planted in Podikumarihami’s house. Thereafter, Podikumarihami and her son had taken him to Mahiyanganaya police and complained about this incident. The police officers have dismissed her complaint by saying “these things happen,” and have not taken any action till now. So Podikumarihami returned home and burnt the parcel of Cannabis.

 We the undersigned activists and civil society organisations condemn the continuous attacks, threats, persecution and torture against Podikumarihami and her family by the Mahiyanganaya police. We also strongly condemn the failure by the State including senior police authorities, independent commissions, the Attorney General and the judiciary to ensure effective protection for Podikumarihami and her family and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Podikumarhihami is a 50 year old mother of five children, the youngest aged 19 and 13 years. She is a street vendor who earns her living by selling coconuts, beetle leaf and other produce in Poojanagaraya, Mahiyangananaya, in the Badulla District of Sri Lanka. Since around 2006 Podikumarihami has faced serious and continuous violence and harassment by the police compelling her to give up the land which she owns so the police could profit by illegal sand mining in the area.

Podikumarihiami and her son have been arrested several times on false charges and beaten by the Mahiyangana police. On 05th of November 2017, her son, Sumesh, who was 17 years old at the time was severely tortured inside the Mahiyangana Police Station and hospitalized as a result of his injuries. The local Magistrate who was informed of the torture, refused to take action against the police and instead warned Podikumarihami that if she didn’t respect the police, the magistrate (was is married to a senior police officer), will teach her a lesson. Podikumarihami was later arrested on a baseless charge of failing to wear white attire to court and remanded for 14 days. The criminal case against her continues to date and she has been warned by the Magistrate not to retain any lawyer from the Mahiyangana bar and to represent herself.

In the most recent incident, on 15th August 2017, the Mahiyangana police attempted to arrest Podikumarihami from her residence and when she refused on account of a women officer not being present, they beat her and tried to force her into the vehicle. The police also severely beat her son-in-law, Asanka Dilshan who rushed to her aid. They threatened that they would find drugs at Dilshan’s house before the end of the day.

At around 4.30 pm on 17th August, a team of police officers from the Mahiyangana police, searched Podikumarihami’s and Dilshan’s houses, in their presence, and failed to locate drugs. The police conducted a second search at around 6 pm and on this occasion, family members were prevented from entering the house/being present during the search. However Podikumarihami who was looking through a window, saw the police plant a parcel (purportedly of illicit drugs) inside a brown cupboard in Dilshan’s house and inside a laundry bin at her house. The police ignored her objections that the drugs were illegally planted and arrested Podikumarihami and Dilshan that day. Podikumarihami was released on bail the following day and Asanka Dilshan was remanded on fabricated charges.

On 17th August 2017, at around 02.30 pm, a team of police officers entered Podikumarihami’s compound and attempted to arrest her daughter (Chamila Malkanthi). When she objected to the arrest, the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Mahiyangana Police slapped Podikumarihami to the ground and repeatedly kicked her in the stomach, chest and arms with his boots. When she knelt before him and begged not to arrest her daughter on false charges, the OIC kicked her in the back and two officers Senadheera and Wimalasena caught her by the hair and flung her head against the wall. The police threatened to shoot Podikumarihami if she complained about the attack. On 20thAugust 2017, Podikumarihami was summoned to the Mahiyangana Police Station and warned not to pursue any complaints against the police.

Despite these threats, Podikumarihami filed a complaint the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) bearing No. HRC/BD/147/17 and an inquiry was scheduled for 27th November 2017. On the date of the inquiry, Podikumarihami’s son, Sumesh, was arrested by the Mahiyangana police on false charges, in a clear act of reprisal. Although no drugs were found on his possession, the OIC of the Mahiyangana police announced that he would plant drugs on Sumesh. The OIC also directed a woman police officer to plant drugs on Podikumarihami and arrest her, although no officer stepped forward to do this. Under pressure from the police and due to lack of legal representation, Sumesh has since pleaded guilty to possession of 900 grams of heroin before the Mahiyangana Magistrate.

Podikumarihami has complained against the Mahiyangana police to the Attorney General (AG), and the National Police Commission (NPC) by letters dated 17.11.2017. She has also filed further complaints dated 23.11.2017 to the HRCSL, DIG (Badulla), NPC, Special Investigation Unit (SIU), and the AG, against actions of the Mahiyangana Police. Podikumarihami is informed that the police SIU has completed an inquiry into the incident of torture on 17.08.2017 and referred the case to the AG for framing charges, under the Torture Act. A fundamental rights application bearing No: SCFR 184/2018 is also pending before the Supreme Court.

Despite the measures by the SIU and the AG and the support of lawyers and civil society activists in the area, the Mahiyanaga police continue their campaign of harassment and threats against Podikumarihamy, pressuring her to withdraw all complaints against the police. The actions of the Sri Lanka Police have compromised the safety of Podikumarihamy and her family, violated their right peace, security and dignity, impact her son’s education and compromised her ability to earn a livelihood and support her family.

We call on the Sri Lankan State to ensure effective protection and redress for Podikumarihami and accountability for those responsible by :

·         Ensure the protection of Podikumarihami and her family, and provide guarantees against non-recurrence of reprisals and attacks by any member of the police force or their associates;

·         Call on the Attorney General to review the evidence and charges against Podikumarihami and her family members, and withdraw all charges based on fabricated/planted evidence;

·         Ensuring a credible and effective inquiry by the SIU into the incident on 17th August 2017 and providing Podikimarihami with clear information about its progress/outcome

·         Calling on the Attorney General of Sri Lanka to frame charges under the Torture Act without further delay and ensure timely prosecution of those responsible;

·         Calling on the National Police Commission to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry with immediate effect into the conduct of the OIC and other officers of the Mahiyangana Police Station and take disciplinary measures to hold such officers accountable.

·         Call on the Judicial Service Commission to inquire into the conduct of the Mahiyangana Magistrate, Thushani Thenabadu, who being the wife of a senior police officer, has purported to act in a partial manner that has seriously prejudiced Podikumarihami’s safety and increased the impunity with which the Mahiyangana police operate;

·         Call upon the National Police Commission to inquire into the large number of allegations against the Sri Lanka Police, who are accused of routinely planting false evidence/illicit drugs against persons in order to threatened, intimidate and obtain false convictions.

·         Ensure adequate compensation for Podikumarihami and her family for the damage caused by the actions of the Mahiyangana Police.

 

Signed by;

Individuals

1.       A. Don Kingsley Karunaratne – Rule of Law Forum, Colombo

2.       A. M. Bastian Coonghe

3.       Adrian Pereira – Malaysia

4.       Advocate George Pulikuthiyil – Jananeethi, India

5.       Ajith Dharmakeerthi MSc, CITP, FRAS

6.       Ajith Hadley Perera – Negombo

7.       Anaz Abuthahir

8.       Anberiya Hanifa

9.       Annouchka Wijesinghe

10.   Antonio Oposa Jr. – Philippines

11.   Anuradha Bernard – Independent Journalist

12.   Anuradha Udunuwara

13.   Asma Rahman

14.   Athula  Vithanage

15.   B. Gowthaman

16.   Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

17.   Bruce Van Voorhis – Blogger, Chartered Software Engineer, Fellow of Royal Astronomical Society

18.   Buddhima Padmasiri

19.   Chathurika Senanayake

20.   Deanne Uyangoda

21.   Dharani Gamage

22.   Dharshanie Alles

23.   Dr. Muzzammil Cader – Moderator, Samadana/m

24.   Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

25.   Dr. Sumathy Sivamohan

26.   Dylan Perera

27.   E.M. Bandara Menike

28.   Emil van der Poorten – A Defender of Human Rights

29.   Ermiza Tegal – Attorney-at-Law

30.   Esra Mandosir – Human Rights Defender, West Papua

31.   Euphrasia Silva

32.   Faizun Zackariya – Rights Activist

33.   Farah Mihlar

34.   Filo Hirota – Japan

35.   Godfrey Malarnesan

36.   Godfrey Yogarajah

37.   Hareesz Rasheed

38.   Harshani Bogahawatte

39.   Helan Thamaral – Sampath Sansada

40.   Herman Kumara

41.   Inthumathy Hariharathamotharan – Viluthu

42.   Jake Oorloff

43.   James Tan – Hong Kong

44.   Jaufer Uthuma Lebbe

45.   Jo Baker

46.   Joanne Senn

47.   Jude L. Fernando

48.   K.S. Ratnavale – Attorney-at-Law

49.   Kim Chishi – North-East India

50.   Kusal Perera – Journalist and Political Critic

51.   Lakshman Gunasekara

52.   Lal Wijenayake  – General  Secretary, United Left Front

53.   Lucille Abeykoon

54.   Luis de Oliveira Sampaio – Justice System Monitoring Programme, Timor Leste

55.   M. Kusum Silva – Human Rights Protection Shelter

56.   M.C.M. Iqbal

57.   Marisa de Silva

58.   N.M. Kalugampitiya

59.   Niranjani Roland

60.   P. Iranga Silva

61.   P.N. Singham

62.   Padma Pushpakanthi – Savisthri National Women’s Movement

63.   Patrick Earle – Sydney, Australia

64.   Perakum Liyanagama

65.   Philip Setunga

66.   Quintus Colombage

67.   R.M.B Senanayake (Retd C.C.S)

68.   Rajiva Wijesinha

69.   Ramya Vithanage

70.   Rev. Anura Perera

71.   Rev. Fr. Ananda Fernando – Sampath Sansada

72.   Rev. Fr. Bonnie Mendes

73.   Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos

74.   Rev. Fr. Manoj Rasanjana, OP

75.   Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando

76.   Rev. Fr. Rohan Silva OMI

77.   Rev. Fr. Saman Perera – Moderator, Presbytery of Lanka, and Minister, Scots Kirk, Kandy

78.   Rev. Fr. Terence Fernando

79.   Rev. Sr. Beatrice Fernando

80.   Rev. Sr. Eymard Marie – Sampath Sansada

81.   Rev. Sr. Fatimanayaki

82.   Rev. Sr. Helen Fernando

83.   Rev. Sr. Mabel Rodrigo

84.   Rev. Sr. Mary Shirani (RGS)

85.   Rev. Sr. Matilda Lazarus

86.   Rev. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel

87.   Rev. Sr. Shanthini Fernando

88.   Rev. Sr. Sylvia Cullen

89.   Rosana Fodesta

90.   Ruki Fernando

91.   Ruvan Weerasinghe

92.   Sampath Samarakoon – Editor, Vikalpa

93.   Sarath Silva

94.   Shalomi Daniel

95.   Shenali De Silva

96.   Shivanthi Senanayake

97.   Shyamali Ranaraja

98.   Sooriyamoorthi Vivodan

99.   Srinath Perera – Attorney-at-Law & General Secretary, Free Trade Union Centre

100.Sunanda Deshapriya

101.Swasthika Arulingam – Attorney-at-Law

102.Thushari Madahapola – Women’s Action for Social Justice

103.Thyagi Ruwanpathirana

104.Vasantha Premaratne

105.Victor Ivan

106.Visaka Dharmadasa

 

Organisations

Alliance Development Trust (ADT)

Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD)

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)

INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre

National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

National Fisheries Solidarity Organization (NAFSO)

The Grassrooted Trust

The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice

Women for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka (London, UK)

 

Human Rights Office – Kandy

¾ A, Digana Road, Nattarampotha, Kandy

+94 81-2424511 hrokandy@gmail.com

 

2.



Despite harassment, torture and threat by Mahiyangana Police, Magistrate

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture; observations held in Kandy

It all started with a two-acre land near the Mahaweli River in Mahiyangana. The land is ideal for those engaged in illicit sand mining.

One day a police constable attached to the Mahiyangana Police station approached the 50-year-old Podi Kumarihami living on the land and wanted the property sold to him.  

Podi Kumarihami had no other place to go as she loved that plot of land. She was selling bêtel and coconut at Poojanagara in the Mahiyangana town. From the time she refused to sell the land, Podi Kumarihami alleged that she had undergone constant harassment by the Police and the Officer-in-Charge of the Mahiyagana Police. She spelled this story out before a panel of jurists on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture observations in Kandy.

The Panel comprised of Ven. Dr. Atipola Mangala, Senior Attorney Tissa Manatunge,Commissioner of Human Rights Commission Dr. (Ms.) Deepika Udugama, Regional Human Rights Commissioner Kumudini Vithane and school Principal Kamalika Dissanayake. The compere was Rt. Rev. Nandana Manatunge - the Director of Human Rights Commission in Kandy.  

Podi Kumarihami said that she was a mother of five children between the ages of 19 years and 13. She said that she was a street vendor who sold local produce at Mahiyangana. According to her, since 2006 she had been facing serious threats and harassment due to her refusal to sell the only land that was in her possession to the Police in Mahiyangana.  

She alleged that her 17-year-old son was arrested several times. On November 5, 2017, she alleged that her son Sumesh was arrested by Mahiyangana Police and tortured following which he was hospitalized to treat his injuries. 

She alleged that though the local Magistrate was informed of this repeated torture, she did not take notice of the complaint but said that she had to honour the Police. She had also said that the Magistrate was married to a Police Officer. Podikumari Hamini was later arrested for not wearing a white saree when she appeared in the Court and remanded for 14 days. The criminal case continues against her and she had been warned by the Magistrate not to retain a lawyer from Mahiyanga in order to defend herself.  

On August 15, 2017, she was arrested again. She charged that no female Police officer was present during the time of her interrogation. She recounted that police officers beat her and tried to force her into the Police vehicle. She said her son-in-law Asanka Dilshan who rushed to her help was also beaten. The Police officers were alleged to have stated that they would find drugs in her house, before the day ends.

On the August 17, in a harrowing tale, Podi Kumarihami said that Police officers planted drugs at her house and that her son-in-law was arrested despite his defiance. She said she was allowed on Police bail and her son-in-law was remanded for 14 days.  

On the same day, policemen from Mahiyangana Police arrived at her house and attempted to arrest her daughter Chamila Malkanthi, but when she objected to the arrest, she was physically harassed by the Mahiyangana Police OIC and two other constables named Senadheera and Wimalsena. They caught her by her hair and dashed her head against the wall. When she knelt and pleaded, she was kicked by the OIC with his boots. They warned if she had complained, she  would be shot. By August 20, 2017, Podi Kumarihami was summoned to the Police Station and was warned not to pursue any complaint against the Police and if she did so, she would have to face dire consequences.

It is at this time that Podi Kumarihami complained to the Human Rights Commission. Her case No: HRC/BD/147/17 was scheduled for hearing on November 27. Podikumai Hami and Dilshan alleged that their arrest by the Mahiyagana Police was an act of reprisal.

She said her son-in-law Asanka Dilshan who rushed to her help was also beaten. The Police officers were alleged to have stated that they would find drugs in her house, before the day ends

She stated that she had written to the Police Commission, the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the DIG Badulla range and Special Investigations Unit had already commenced investigations. However, Podi Kumarihami alleged the investigations have been completed.  

She said that her safety, her dignity, her son’s education and her ability to engage in her livelihood is at stake.  

The Civil Society who were present passed an eight-point resolution calling upon the State to ensure effective protection and redress for Podi Kumarihami. They also called on the Judicial Service Commission to conduct an inquiry into the Mahiyangana Magistrate pertaining to these incidents and urged the National Police Commission to inquire into the alleged conduct of the Mahiyangana Police officers as well. 

 

 සංවිධානය-




Judgment
Link:-  http://www.supremecourt.lk/images/documents/sc_fr_184_2018.pdf




 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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