Illegal arrest, torture and harassment continuing in Sri Lanka: AHRC

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Nov 01, 2016 (LBO) – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said on Tuesday an individual illegally arrested and tortured in Ja-Ela, and the harassment of a priest in Wattegama, are examples of failure to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

The individual in Ja-Ela was produced before the Negombo Magistrate on a fabricated charge of possession of drugs, but was later released on bail, the AHRC said in a statement.

“The officers forcefully brought him to the Ja-Ela Police Station. He was threatened that they will continue to detain and torture him if he opposes arrest. At no time was he given a reason for his arrest.”

The victim is now seeking justice against the actions of the police.

A parish priest from Wattegama, Kandy District, who had supported several torture victims in their legal battles, was similarly harassed by the police including the OIC of Wattegama Police Station, the AHRC said.

“Following a land dispute with the owner of land a joining the Wattegama Street, St.Mary’s Church, police officers began harassing the priest.”

After two police officers attached to the Wattegama Police Station, were sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment in December 2014, the priest had been subjected to police harassment in revenge for his support for torture victims.

The AHRC, which has details of the cases on their website (www.humanrights.asia), has asked for public support and appeals to authorities to investigate these matters.

The AHRC was founded in 1984 by a group of jurists and activists, and functions as a non-governmental body which promotes human rights in the Asian region.