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SRI LANKA: Journalist of Sunday Apple

newspaper tortured by Assistant


Superintendent of Police of Tangalle

09 October 2017

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) received information about Mr.
Susantha Bandara Karunarathna, a journalist working for the Sunday Apple
newspaper. He was tortured by the Assistant Superintendent of Police of
Tangalle, I. T. Daluwath. Susantha was engaged in his duties as a journalist,
covering a peaceful protest at Hambantota Town on 6 October 2017. He was
illegally arrested, detained, tortured and denied urgently needed medical
treatment. The senior Consultant Surgeon examined the patient at the
Debarawewa District Hospital, directing the Police to take the patient for
immediate treatment at the Hambantota General Hospital. However, the Police
refused, produced him before the Magistrate Court of Hambantota, remanding
him in Tangalle Remand Prison. When his physical condition turned serious,
Prison Authorities admitted him to the Hambantota General Hospital the next
day. Observing the severity of the situation, the Doctors transferred the patient
to the Matara General Hospital. Police have severely tortured, inhumanly
denied urgently needed medical treatment and obstructed the journalist from
doing his work.
Case Narrative:

Susantha Bandara Karunarathna, is a journalist working for the Sunday Apple, a


widely popular national newspaper.

On 6 October 2017, Susantha was directed by his media organization, the Times
Networks Private Limited, to cover the peoples protest at Hambantota Town. It
was organized by several organizations including legally accepted political parties.
The protest numbered thousands of people including religious leaders, members
of the National Parliament, Provincial Council members representing the Island
and a large gathering of civil society activists. All are demanding the protection of
national resources and the peoples welfare.
While Susantha was engaged with his
official duties he was arrested by the two
Police Officers pictured above. Although he
explained to the Officers his official duties,
they did not pay any attention and
continued to obstruct his work. Later he was
dragged to a Police vehicle. Two Police
Officers held his both arms tightly against his body. The Assistant Superintendent
of Police (ASP) I.T. Daluwattte, of the Tangalle Division, approached him, slapping
him hard on his left ear. He felt severe pain. Immediately the left side of his head
became numb. He could not hear any sound in his left ear.

Then he was brought to the Police vehicle and taken to the Veerawila Police
Station. His fellow journalists kept protesting his arrest with the Police Officers.
They were fortunate to cover the illegal activity of the Police Officers as well.

Susanthas left ear started to bleed. He informed the Officers of this


development. They brought him to the Debarawewa District Hospital. The senior
Consultant Surgeon examined the patient and directed he be taken for immediate
treatment to the Hambantota General Hospital. However, the Police refused.
Instead, they produced him before the Magistrate of Hambantota, remanding him
in the Tangalle Remand Prison.

When the victims condition turned serious, the Prison Authorities transferred
him to the Hambantota General Hospital the next day. The Doctors, considering
the severity of the patient transferred him to the Matara General Hospital. Urgent
surgery needed to be performed under superior facilities and various medical
specialties. Doctors confirmed serious damage to the membrane of the ear drum
coupled with internal bleeding which caused serious side effects, including loss of
hearing. Susantha is still under treatment at the Matara General Hospital.

Media organizations, human rights activists and concerned civil society parties
raised strong voices.

They considered this a serious violation of the journalists rights by a senior Police
Officer. They further mentioned that:

1) Susantha was arrested while he was engaged in his legal duties.


2) In Police custody, he was severely tortured after his upper body was tightly
restrained by two Officers.
3) Susantha has never participated in any violent activity or breached any Law.
4) He has never used force against any Law Enforcement Officer.
5) He has never obstructed the duty of any Police Officer.
6) He was detained in violation of his civilian rights.
7) He was obstructed in his duties as a journalist.
8) Susantha was produced before the Courts under fabricated charges.
9) He was denied urgently needed medical treatment.
10) Police have acted against directions of the Medical Doctors, knowing well that
the patient could lose his hearing besides endangering his life.

All the concerned parties demand a full, prompt, efficient, independent, impartial
inquiry into the incident. Demand that the proper Authorities put the responsible
Police Officers on immediate suspension of duty. The Attorney General direct the
Inspector General of Police (IGP) to initiate a full-scale investigation. Indict and
prosecute the Police Officers under the Convention Against Torture And Other
Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment No: 22 of 1994.

Video link to the torture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1B-97tWzhs


Suggested Action:

Please send letters to the Authorities listed below expressing your concern about
this case. Request an immediate investigation into the allegations of illegally
arresting, detaining and torturing a working journalist by Police perpetrators.
Prosecute those proven to be responsible under Criminal Law for misusing the
powers of the State. Officers involved must be subject to an internal investigation
for breach of Police Departmental Orders. Request the National Police
Commission (NPC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to open a special
investigation into the malpractices of Police Officers who abuse their powers.

To support this case, please click here:


SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ________,
SRI LANKA: Journalist of Sunday Apple newspaper tortured by Assistant
Superintendent of Police of Tangalle

Name of Victims: Susantha Bandara Karunarathna, a journalist working for the


Sunday Apple newspaper

Alleged perpetrators: Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Tangalle Division

Date of incident: 6 October 2017

Place of incident: Hambantota Police Division


According to information I have received Mr. Susantha Bandara Karunarathna, is a
journalist working for the Sunday Apple, a widely popular national newspaper.

On 6 October 2017, Susantha was directed by his media organization, the Times
Networks Private Limited, to cover the peoples protest at Hambantota Town. It
was organized by several organizations including legally accepted political parties.
The protest numbered thousands of people including religious leaders, members
of the National Parliament, Provincial Council members representing the Island
and a large gathering of civil society activists. All are demanding the protection of
national resources and the peoples welfare.

While Susantha was engaged with his official duties he was arrested by the two
Police Officers pictured above. Although he explained to the Officers his official
duties, they did not pay any attention and continued to obstruct his work. Later
he was dragged to a Police vehicle. Two Police Officers held his both arms tightly
against his body. The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) I.T. Daluwattte, of
the Tangalle Division, approached him, slapping him hard on his left ear. He felt
severe pain. Immediately the left side of his head became numb. He could not
hear any sound in his left ear.

Then he was brought to the Police vehicle and taken to the Veerawila Police
Station. His fellow journalists kept protesting his arrest with the Police Officers.
They were fortunate to cover the illegal activity of the Police Officers as well.

Susanthas left ear started to bleed. He informed the Officers of this


development. They brought him to the Debarawewa District Hospital. The senior
Consultant Surgeon examined the patient and directed he be taken for immediate
treatment to the Hambantota General Hospital. However, the Police refused.
Instead, they produced him before the Magistrate of Hambantota, remanding him
in the Tangalle Remand Prison.

When the victims condition turned serious, the Prison Authorities transferred
him to the Hambantota General Hospital the next day. The Doctors, considering
the severity of the patient transferred him to the Matara General Hospital. Urgent
surgery needed to be performed under superior facilities and various medical
specialties. Doctors confirmed serious damage to the membrane of the ear drum
coupled with internal bleeding which caused serious side effects, including loss of
hearing. Susantha is still under treatment at the Matara General Hospital.

Media organizations, human rights activists and concerned civil society parties
raised strong voices. They considered this a serious violation of the journalists
rights by a senior Police Officer. They further mentioned that:

1) Susantha was arrested while he was engaged in his legal duties.


2) In Police custody, he was severely tortured after his upper body was tightly
restrained by two Officers.
3) Susantha has never participated in any violent activity or breached any Law.
4) He has never used force against any Law Enforcement Officer.
5) He has never obstructed the duty of any Police Officer.
6) He was detained in violation of his civilian rights.
7) He was obstructed in his duties as a journalist.
8) Susantha was produced before the Courts under fabricated charges.
9) He was denied urgently needed medical treatment.
10) Police have acted against directions of the Medical Doctors, knowing well that
the patient could lose his hearing besides endangering his life.

All the concerned parties demand a full, prompt, efficient, independent, impartial
inquiry into the incident. Demand that the proper Authorities put the responsible
Police Officers on immediate suspension of duty. The Attorney General direct the
Inspector General of Police (IGP) to initiate a full-scale investigation. Indict and
prosecute the Police Officers under the Convention Against Torture And Other
Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment No: 22 of 1994.

Video link to the torture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1B-97tWzhs


I request the intervention of your good offices to ensure that the Authorities
listed below open an immediate investigation. Look into allegations of violations
of the fundamental rights of the victim by Officers of the Sri Lanka Police
Department. The Officers involved should be subject to an internal investigation
for breach of Police Departmental orders.
Yours sincerely,
---------------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Pujith Jayasundara
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
E-mail: igp@police.lk
2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General
Attorney General's Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: ag@attorneygeneral.gov.lk
3. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
E-mail: npcgen@sltnet.lk or polcom@sltnet.lk
4. Secretary
Human Rights Commission
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Colombo 8
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
E-mail: sechrc@sltnet.lk
Thank you.
Posted by Thavam

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