Wellawatte police blamed for long-term neglect in investigating disappearance

[TamilNet, Monday, 19 April 2010, 09:29 GMT]
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Monday blamed Wellawatte Police in Colombo for not having taken any action during the two-year period since a young Tamil student was allegedly arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). "No information has been given to his family and his whereabouts are entirely unknown. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has also been aware of the case since 2008," the AHRC said in a press statement. "This long-term neglect to investigate a disappearance is a clear breach of domestic and international law and questions the accountability and professionalism of CID officers in the country," the AHRC has charged.

Details of the case provided by the AHRC follow:

Tharmakulasingam Mauran, 25, went missing on his way home from an industrial training programme at Lanka Bell in Kolupitiya, sometime after 4pm on 4 March 2008.

According to the security guard at his compound and the apartment's owner Mrs. K Poomani, three men arrived at the compound at 5.30 that evening and searched his home. One wore a police uniform and carried a firearm and the others were in civil gear; they arrived together in a blue jeep. The men reportedly showed Mauran’s national identity card to the security guard and told him that the young man had been arrested and was in their custody for questioning about a credit card issue. They also showed the ID card to Ms. Poomani and identified themselves as from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) before confiscating a computer CPU, a cloth bag, some wrestling CDs a DVD player and a mobile phone from Mauran's flat. The event was recorded in the security guard's entry book.

Mauran's parents, Mr. Uruththrasingam and Mrs. Tharmakulasigam were not able to raise the interest of any official body, though they registered various complaints and reports, including one at Wellawatte police station in March 2008 with police entry No. 323/74, and others with the Human Rights Commission (HRC/1300/08), the Fort Police, the International Committee of the Red Cross (LKC 427225), the man's former university and local ministers. No investigation has been started and no contact has been made with witnesses in the two years since he went missing.

This long-term neglect to investigate a disappearance is a clear breach of domestic and international law and questions the accountability and professionalism of CID officers in the country. A wider investigation is clearly needed into the abuse of power by police, and the ways in which officers are circumventing the legal process by using abduction and disappearance tactics, without regard for the rule of law or the protection of basic human rights.

 

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