Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Innocent man and his family members were tortured by police officers at the behest of a third party

According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Mr. George Jayakody (55) of No: 24, Kundalagama, Kundasale, Kandy is married and the father of two sons. Mr. Jayakody decided to sell his house and move to Kandy and accordingly advertised that his house was for sale.

On 23 September 2008 Ms. Chandra Kumari Madawala from Galaha came to meet Mr. Jayakody and expressed her interest to buy the house. Then both parties came to an agreement on the purchase of the property. In accordance with the agreement Ms. Chandra paid an advance of Rs. 50,000/= to reserve the house which was valued to be worth Rs. 1.5 Million and promised to pay the balance by the end of the year. However, she failed to fulfill her obligation in accordance with the agreement and requested for a further six months to settle the agreement.

However in June 2009 she informed Mr. Jayakody of her inability to pay the balance and requested that the deposit she had paid earlier be returned. This was strictly in variance with the terms and conditions of the contract. Mr. Jayakody replied that he wanted her to come to the lawyer's office (who wrote the agreement) to have a conversation on the legal issues and settled the matter. Meanwhile Ms. Chadra contacted the officers of the Manikhinna Police Station where her Brother-in-Law was stationed and tried to obtain their assistance to get her deposit back from Mr. Jayakody.

As a result, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Manikhinna Police Station called Mr. Jayakody and threatened him to return the money immediately. In response Mr. Jayakody explained the terms and conditions of the legal agreement to the OIC.

However, ignoring the legal ramifications of the contract the OIC called Mt. Jayakoday to the police station in September 2009 along with Ms. Chandra and once again threatened him to hand over the money before the 31 December 2009.

Despite being fully correct under the terms of the contract Mr. Jayakoday consulted his lawyer and asked him to inform Ms. Chandra that he would repay the deposit in three installments. This was informed to Ms. Chandra in a letter dated 14 December 2009.

In the meantime the OIC continued to threaten Mr. Jayakoday. On the 31 December 2009 at around 4 pm Chandra came in a van with her Brother-in-Law, police officers from the Manikhinna Police Station, his brother who is an Air Force officer, some family members and about eight unidentified persons believed to be notorious criminals. This gang assaulted Mr. Jayakoday, his wife and their two sons severely with boots & poles and damaged the furniture of the house. They broke the windows and severely damaged the property. The police from the same station arrived at the scene in answer to a call from Mr. Jayakody but, not surprisingly, they did not take any action to initiate an investigation or arrest any suspect.

Mr. Jayakoday's wife was severely injured and three of her fingers were fractured and her spine was injured during the assault. The son Madushan was also severely beaten and was warded at the Kandy Teaching Hospital for 2 days from the 31 December 2009 to 2 January 2010. As Mr. Jayakoday's wife, Pearly, was not able get urgent surgery at the Kandy Teaching Hospital she was transferred to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. She eventually underwent an operation for her injuries.

Mr. Jaykody states that as a police officer, the Brother-in-Law of Ms. Chandra assaulting him and his family members in his official capacity this constitutes the crime of torture under the CAT Act, Act No: 22 of 1994.

Although Mr. Jayakody made complaints to the Police Station of Manikhinna no action was taken by the police until February 2010. At that time Mr. Jayakoday complained to the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the Kandy Police Station. Several weeks later he learned that when the senior police officers inquired of the Manikhinna Police on their inaction and disrespect of the law and the Departmental Orders their reply was that the matter was settled.

Then Mr. Jayakody complained to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) on 3 February 2010 regarding the incident during a 'Dayata Kirula Exhibition' (where a mobile reporting police service was offered). As a result the police officers filed a case in the Magistrate's Court of Panvila. But Mr. Jayakody leaned that even in the court the OIC of the Manikhinna Police had not properly reported the incident and details of the crimes committed by the perpetrators including his own officers. Mr. Jayakody states that the report of the OIC was intended to mislead the court and bring his complaints to an end by the use of judicial process.

Mr. Jayakody and his family feel that the OIC of the Manikhinna Police Station and other police officers acted contrary to the law by violating their fundamental rights. Further these police officers used their public office and official capacities to fulfill the whims and fancies of a private party (Ms. Chandra). Furthermore, Chandra's Brother-in-law used his official powers to suppress the legal proceedings and assault innocent civilians living in his division.

Further, Mr. Jayakody states that the OIC of the Manikhinna Police and the senior police officers ignored their official responsibilities in failing to provide legal redress to a victim of a crime. Instead they worked to protect the wrong doers provided them with impunity. Therefore Mr. Jayakody calls for an independent inquiry into the matter.