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THESE 3 men were deported from Australia in October 2009 on the grounds
that they were found not to have believable claims that they would
suffer persecution on return.
Clearly someone got it wrong. These men have been comprehensively
tortured AND TWO YEARS LATER ARE STILL IN PRISON WITHOUT BEING CHARGED.
Not that the Australian government cares - these are just 3 less asylum
seekers to detain.
From the ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION report:
SI Sanjeewa kept a wooden board on the head of Lasantha and started to insert nails to the board using a hammer making enormous pain to the head of Lasantha several times but still he (Lasantha) denied any knowledge on the two allegations of having involvement with LTTE and its ship. Several other CID were present and also joined in the assault but while Lasantha could recognised them if he were to see them again he does not know their names. Lasantha notice there were several other detainees with him in the CID cells while he was being tortured. Then on 17 August at around 4.30pm Lasantha was brought out from the cell by Inspector of Police (IP) Paranavithana and other officers of the CID and together with some other detainees brought to the office of the Judicial Medical Officer's (JMO). While they were on their way IP Paranavithana threatened Lasantha and the other detainees that if they revealed any details of the torture they would be further detained with Detention Order (DO) and tortured with the Darma Chakkra (‗Wheel of Law‘) method (a method in which the hands and ankles are tied together, a pole is then inserted between them under the knees and the victim is suspended by the pole. The officers then continue to beat the victim whilst he is suspended in this manner. This is common method of torture used by the Sri Lankan police). As a JMO was not present at the office for examination the officers took them back to the CID. While they were coming back the officers stopped the vehicle at the Elphinston Cinema Hall at Maradana. The officers then told the detainees, including Lasantha, to get out of the vehicle and run fast. It was evident to Lasantha that the officers wanted to make it look as if they were escaping so they could shoot them. However all were handcuffed at that time. Then suddenly IP Paranavithana realised that there was a huge crowd watching and stopped the officers. After that Lasantha and the others were brought back to the CID offices and question again on similar matters. They also suffered further tortured. Later Lasantha was produced before the Magistrate of Negombo on the suspicion of committing a crime under the provisions of Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948 and remanded at Remand Prison Negombo. After being subjecting to continuous torture by the police officers Lasantha suffered several injuries. However, despite the fact that his injuries were severe the officers made no attempt to provide medical attention. At the very first occasion on 27 August, Lasantha's relatives were able to get an Attorney-at-Law to appear on his behalf. The Attorney informed the Magistrate that Lasantha was in severe pain due to extensive torture and needed to have proper medical treatment. The Magistrate instructed the prison authorities to provide the necessary medical treatment at the Negombo Base Hospital but he was not given medical treatment till 30 August. He was admitted to ward No. 6, bed 14 on 31 August. The JMO finally examined Lasantha on 1 September.
Despite Lasantha's relatives informing the court of the torture perpetrated on Lasantha by the offices of the CID the relevant authorities of the state have not yet initiated any steps to investigate the crimes committed against him. The relatives and Lasantha seek an effective, prompt, impartial and independent investigation unto the crimes committed against him and the prosecution of those who committed them.
299. Balapuwaduge Suresh Sumith Kumar Mendis: Criminal Investigation Department officers illegally arrested, detained and tortured a man and denied him the right to medical treatment.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Sri Lankan Navy arrested a civilian and later handed him over to officers of the Maravila Police station. They in turn handed over the victim to officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Later the CID officers tortured the victim and detained him for 6 days without providing the necessary urgently needed medical treatment for the injuries suffered due to the torture. He was later produced before the Magistrate of Negombo and remanded. The Magistrate ordered a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) to examine the victim. However, the JMO did not conduct an impartial examination.
According to Balapuwaduge Suresh Sumith Kumar Mendis, a resident of Ambakandawila, Iranawila, Chilaw, he is an experienced fisherman. Due to the political situation in Sri Lanka Sumith attempted to enter Australia by sea as he believed that if he tried to leave Sri Lanka by air he would be arrested at Katunayaka International Airport (KIA). However, despite of his application to remain in Australia on political grounds and on the basis that he would be subject to torture if he was returned to Sri Lanka, his application for asylum was refused. He was deported to Sri Lanka in October 2009.
Sumith's brother, Indika, also who made a similar refugee claim to Australian authorities was also deported. The officers attached to the CID at KIA arrested Indika who was tortured, produced before the courts and remanded. In early August, 2010 Sumith was contacted by unknown caller who told him he was calling from the Australian High commission (AHC) in Sri Lanka. The caller requested Sumith to come to the AHC to collect his and his brother‘s belongings that they left in Christmas Island. As this request happened around one year after they were deported, Sumith suspected the caller.
Later, he contacted his Attorney-at-Law and sought legal assistance. Following this Sumith contacted the unknown caller and informed him that his lawyer could pick up his belongings with his written consent. A few days later Sumith received another similar message from another unknown caller who revealed himself as an officer of the Criminal Investigation Division. This caller asked Sumith to come to the CID. Sumith gave that particular number to his lawyer who contacted the caller and verified that he was, in fact, from the CID. The lawyer informed them that he was ready to come to the CID with Sumith for any legal inquiry or interrogation at any time and requested an appointment which was duly arranged.
However, irrespective of the above mentioned situation Sumith was arrested by officers of the Sri Lankan Navy on 14 August 2010 at Negombo. These officers subsequently handed over him to the Maravila Police station who then passed him on to officers of the CID on 15 August 2010. Sumith was detained at the CID headquarters along with some others who had lived in Negombo and been deported from Christmas Island, Australia.
On 18 August 2010, Sumith was taken to his hometown and severely tortured by the CID officers in front of other villagers. The torture was witnessed by his mother, wife and many other relatives. Sumith's wife was verbally abused and threatened by the officers. The police officers used defamatory words even against the lawyer who represent the Sumith on many occasions in front of them.
Later, on the instructions of the relatives Sumith‘s lawyer contacted the relevant police officers at the CID and informed them that Sumith had a fundamental right not to be tortured. After witnessing his condition Sumith's relatives asked the police officers to allow Sumith to get medical treatment. Sumith was detained in the CID office for 6 days from 15 to 22 of August. Throughout the whole period he was not provided the necessary emergency medical treatment by the officers.
He was produced before the Magistrate of Negombo and charged with committing a crime under the provisions of Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948. He was accused of aiding and abetting illegally emigration. Then he was remanded by the Magistrate and sent to the Remand Prison, Negombo. There he again requested medical treatment from the prison officers but was refused because he did not reveal his condition at the time he was admitted to the prison. Then on 27 August, the lawyer who appeared on his behalf in the Magistrate's Court submitted the facts pertaining to Sumith's medical condition and proceeded for an order for medical treatment. Then the Magistrate ordered the prison authorities to produce Sumith before the Judicial Medical Officers (JMO).
When Sumith was later produced before the JMO he accused Sumith by saying the CID officers did not torture him. But Sumith repeatedly stated that he was tortured by officers attached to the CID. While Sumith was in CID custody he was asked to give details of Indika's whereabouts or request him to surrender. Sumith's lawyer was able to surrender Indika to the CID on 22 August. It was only 10 days before Indika was released on bail from the remand prison after he was arrested in relation with the Australian deportation case.
Sumith's family fear for his life as they are aware of many reported incidents in which persons have been killed in police custody. The lawyer and the relatives of Sumith have made an official complaint to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC) as well. When the lawyer tried to meet his client for necessary consultations the officers did not allow him to do so informing him that he required special permission from the Director CID. The lawyer then lodged a complaint with the Director CID on the violation of his professional rights as an Attorney-at-Law. 380