The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) last week drew attention to the death of 36-year-old Nallawarige Sandasirilal Fernando, a father of three children following alleged assault by the Panadura police.
The victim died of serious head injuries after he was assaulted by a policeman from the Panadura police station on March 26, 2005 at his home in Wekaeda, Panadura, the human rights watchdog claimed in a statement.
`His death has seriously affected his three children, aged 11, 14 and 17, who are now forced to survive on their own and fear they will have to stop going to school. The children?s mother is employed abroad. Despite this incident, an investigation into Sandasrilal?s death has yet to be conducted nor has any action been taken against the policeman responsible`, it said.
Sandasirilal Fernando, a mason by occupation, married with three children, two sons and a daughter studying at Baudhaloka Maha Vidiyalaya, Wekaeda, Panadura, was assaulted while the police were trying to arrest his brother, Deepal Kumara Fernando, on the evening of March 26 at his residence, the statement said.
`According to his brother, Deepal, on the previous day, there was a fight in a neighbouring house and he had intervened to settle it. However, no sooner he returned home, one of his neighbours called Saman arrived and accused him of stabbing him. Deepal denied the allegation and went to see Saman the next day again and told him that he did not stab anyone. However, on the evening of the same day, Saman went to Deepal?s house with two policemen from the Panadura police station`.
The police proceeded to arrest him and took him into the police jeep despite his claim of innocence. The incident happened when the victim, Sandasirilal, who was under the influence of liquor, shouted and protested to the policemen regarding his brotherarrest. It angered the policemen and one of them alighted from the jeep and began to hit Sandasirilal hard on his back and neck. Another blow hit his face. Sandasirilal then fell unconscious. The police, however, left him there, instead of taking him to hospital for treatment. They left the house taking Deepal with them to the police station, AHRC said..
On March 28, Deepal was released on bail. However, when he went home, he was informed that his brother?s condition was very serious. Deepal rushed Sandasirilal to Panadura hospital where he was treated. However, his condition deteriorated. He started to vomit and lost control of his bowels. He was transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo, but died a few hours later, it further said.
`No investigation into Sandasrilal?s death has yet been conducted. Meanwhile, Deepal claims that Saman had a grudge against him and that is the reason he falsely accused him`.
Urging the authorities to take immediate action in this connection, AHRC called for a thorough and proper investigation so that the perpetrator can be brought to justice as soon as possible.