Sri Lanka torture victim slain before court appearance
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 November 2004, 18:37 GMT]
G.M Perera, who was tortured in 2002 by Wattala police officers, died at the General Hospital in Colombo Wednesday from critical gunshot wounds he suffered Sunday from an unknown assailant, sources from Colombo said. Mr Perera was to appear in Negombo High Court on 2 December related to the criminal case against the seven police officers.
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in a statement
issued Tuesday said, ''This is the first time that a torture victim pursuing a complaint before the courts in Sri Lanka has been shot dead at the instigation of the perpetrators of torture. The injuries caused to Gerald Perera after torture by officers of the Wattala Police in June 2002 were so serious that he was in a coma for over two weeks. But Gerald was a courageous citizen who stood up for his rights despite his suffering. He took a fundamental rights case to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, which held in his favour on 4 April 2003 and awarded a record compensation payment.
''The responsibility for filing criminal charges over torture in Sri Lanka lies with the Department of the Attorney General. The department will only take this step when it is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. However, although the state files the cases, it does not have any agency to take responsibility for the security of witnesses. Today the whole government apparatus stands as an accused party to this murder by reason of this failing.''