September 28, 2011
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION-URGENT APPEAL PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-181-2011
SRI LANKA: BODY OF SPECIAL FORCES` SOLDIER EXHUMED FOLLOWING COMPLAINT OF DEATH BY TORTURE
ISSUES: TORTURE IMPUNITY EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING RULE OF LAW
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Ms. PAD Ariyawathi Saman Kumari (54) of No: 133, Thummodara Colony, Naththandiya in the Puttalam District has made a complaint about her son, a soldier who was attached to the Special Forces of the Sri Lanka
Army being tortured and killed on 9 September 2010 while he was serving in Mulativu District. The mother
of the deceased soldier states that her son, Nuwarapakshage Madushanka, complained about sexual harassment by a major. She believes that as he opposed the harassment he was later tortured and killed by the military officer. An impartial investigation has been denied by the law enforcement agencies and Ms. Ariyawathi believes that this is because of interference by the military officers. This case is yet another illustration of the denial of justice due to the failure to conduct impartial investigations.
According to the information that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) received Ms. PAD Ariyawathi Saman Kumari (54) of No: 133, Thummodara Colony, Naththandiya in the Puttalam District was the mother of two sons, Mr. Nuwarapakshage Madushanka being one of them.
Madushanka joined the Sri Lanka Army and after completing basic training he was attached to the Special Forces on 12 February 2010. Then he was then posted the Vavuniya Army Camp for service.
When Madushanka came home on vacation in August 2010 he told his mother and one of his relatives that he was suffering enormous difficulties because of a senior officer, a major in the camp. He further revealed that this particular major was sexually harassing him. He reported that the major had selected four soldiers for his `amusement` and Madushanka was one of them. As a result he had to face continual harassment. He went on to say that if he refused the major`s advances he would be tortured and perhaps even killed.
After his vacation was over he had to report to the work on 21 August 2010 but due to the harassment that he faced he was reluctant to do so. However, Ms. Ariyawathi encouraged her son to report for service as otherwise he would be in breach of military law and classified as a deserter.
It was Madushanka`s habit to call his mother after returning to his camp. However, by 30 August he had still not called. Then, several days later on 6 September 2010 several police officers attached to the Koswatte Police Station came to Ms. Ariyawathi`s home and informed her that Madushanka had died at Mulativu and she was asked to come to Vavuniya to accept the body.
Ms. Ariyawathi went to Vavuniya with some of her relatives on the same day. The army officers who were there did not allow her or any of her relatives to see the body. When asked how Madushanka had died the officers informed her that Madushanka had committed suicide.
They tried to see the body again the following day but were prevented until 4.30pm. Then Ms. Ariyawathi and her relatives were able to see several injuries on the neck and abdomen and several other injuries on other parts of the body. They further observed that one leg was wrapped with fabric.
Upon seeing the condition of the body Ms. Ariyawathi refused to accept the cause of death as suicide and vehemently told the officers that she was suspicious. The officers present insisted that she accept their explanation that Madushanka had committed suicide but she refused and told them that there was no reason for Madushanka to have taken his own life.
At the Post Mortem Inquiry the doctor who carried out the examination revealed that there was an injury to the spinal cord and that it was a fracture. Further the doctor revealed that the cause of death was a continuous hemorrhage from an injury on the leg which he estimated to have continued for a period of five hours. He further explained that if the appropriate medical treatment had been provided to Madushanka promptly the death could have been prevented. The doctor informed Ms. Ariyawathi that there were ten injuries marks on the body.
Ms. Ariyawathi requested an immediate and effective investigation into Madushanka`s death as she firmly believed that her son had died due to torture. However, Ms. Ariyawathi`s requests were not acted upon and she believes that the army officers are preventing the investigation from taking place.
Then Ms. Ariyawathi made a special application to the Magistrate`s Court of Mulativu and submitted her facts relating to the cause of her son`s death. She further requested the exhumation of the body and pleaded with the Magistrate to have a special inquiry into the death of her son. She further submitted her request to the Magistrate to have the responsible military officers arrested for torturing and killing her son.
Following her request to the Magistrate made order to exhume the body which took place on 26 August 2011.
Ms. Ariywathi believes that her son was killed after being tortured by being shot in the leg and allowed to bleed to death. She further states that her son was killed as he refused to comply with the sexual demands of a senior officer.
MS. ARIYWATHI IS SEEKING JUSTICE FOR HER SON AND WANTS THE OFFICER INVOLVED TO BE BROUGHT BEFORE A COURT OF LAW. She firmly believes that the officers are attempting to sabotage the criminal investigation and appeals for an impartial and effective investigation into the torture and killing of her son and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
She went on to say that one particular major told one of Madushanka`s relatives, Mr. Samanweera, not to attend the legal proceedings and furthermore promised that he would take steps to get them compensation from the Army.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported innumerable cases of torturing innocent by the several branches of Sri Lankan government 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.
Please send a letter to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and requesting an immediate investigation into the allegations of torturing by the Army perpetrators, and the prosecution of those proven to be responsible under the criminal law of the. The officers involved must also be subjected to internal investigations for the breach of the Army Regulations as issued by Sri Lanka Army. Further, please also request the Sri Lanka Army and the IGP to have a special investigation into the malpractices of Army officers for abusing the state officers` powers.
Please note that the AHRC has also written a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on this regard.