Girl describes bizarre Police torture in SC petition
[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 March 2001, 10:01 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court this week granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petition of a Tamil girl from Kayts in Jaffna who says Policemen tortured her in detention by repeatedly inserting a plantain flower soaked in chilli powder into her vagina. The girl who is currently being held in the Negombo remand prison states in her petition to the Supreme Court that she was hung on a pole inserted between her thighs and arms which had been tied together below the knee and that he body was made to swing in that position; that she was hung from the roof and battered with a cudgel; that Policemen tortured her by pricking under her finger and toe nails with paper pins until she bled; that she was mercilessly assaulted with poles and wires and trampled with boots. The girl also states in her petition that although she had appealed to the Human Rights Commission and the Presidential Committee on Unlawful Arrests and Harassment, they had not taken any action regarding her predicament. The case was fixed for hearing on 7 June 2001.
The girl said in her petition says that when she was produced before the Colombo magistrate in court by the TID. But the TID officer had was charge of her had deliberately obstructed her from telling the judge about her condition and had taken her to see the magistrate in his chambers; But that the magistrate did not ask her whether she had anything to say when she was produced in his chambers. The Supreme Court bench called for all records relevant to the case from the Colombo magistrate’s court for perusal. The court granted leave to proceed on 28 March.
The following is the relevant excerpt from the fundamental rights application filed on behalf of the girl by her attorney’s on 19 March:
1.The petitioner is a citizen of Sri Lanka aged 27 at the time of the arrest.
2.The petitioner is from Kayts whose family got displaced in 1990 and was living in Jaffna till she (sic) got displaced again in 1995 due to military operations and moved to Kilinochchi. The petitioner while in Jaffna was a student at Ramanathan college, Maruthanarmadam and had sat for GCE (O.L) examination”.
3. The petitioner’s mother had gone abroad for employment in 1989 and her father had deserted the family. The petitioner while in Kilinochchi worked as a volunteer Primary teacher at Sivapathakalalaiyam Government school for a short period in 1998.
4.While the petitioner was in Kilinochchi one of her aunts arranged a marriage for her and requested the petitioner to come to Negombo and she came on 23.01.2000 and was staying with the said aunt at her residence at No. 47 Sylvester Road, Negombo.
5. As arranged by her said aunt, on 9 February 2000 marriage was registered at Vavuniya between the petitioner and Thurairatnam Maheswaran alias Babu (8th respondent) and the petitioner was staying with her said aunt”.
6.Subsequently the petitioner having come to know that her husband had previously contracted marriage and has two children, refused to go through the Hindu customary marriage and to live as husband and wife with the 8th respondent (sic)”
7.The 8th respondent on hearing her refusal was harassing and threatening her to have the customary marriage. The petitioner out of fear that the 8th respondent might harm her left for Trincomalee on or about 7 April 2000 and took refuge at her sister’s house in Trincomalee.
8. While in Trincomalee the 8th respondent was giving her (sic) telephone calls threatening her that unless she returns to Negombo and live with him, he will use his influence with the Negombo Police and have her arrested as a member of the suicide LTTE squad and have her tortured.
9. Thereafter, on the 21st of June 2000 while the petitioner was at the People’s Bank, Trincomalee by about 11 a.m. a person called Sekar, whom the petitioner knows as a friend of the 8th respondent came tom the said bank and requested the petitioner to come out. As soon as she came out of the bank a group of Policemen, all males in civil (sic) headed by Wijesekara, R/Sub Inspector arrested her, handcuffed her and put her in a private Elf van that was parked there. One of the Policemen told her that they had come from Negombo Police station to arrest her in connection with an information lodged (sic) against the petitioner by the 8th respondent.
10. While in the van she saw her brother inside the van hand cuffed and the van was driven to the residence of the petitioner brother at Trincomalee and the Police searched every nook and corner of the house and ransacked it.
11. The said van with the petitioner the said Sekar and the said Policemen was driven to Negombo; and it arrived in Negombo by about 6.30 p.m. on the same day and the petitioner with the handcuff was put inside a garage till about 10 p.m.
12. During this period she was detained in the garage she was accused of being an LTTE suicide bomber and was tortured by the Policemen who brought her from Trincomalee in the following manner:
She was assaulted with a pole on her knees, chest, abdomen and on her back. After a short interval they assaulted her again and pressed her chest with the end of the pole as she was shouting in unbearable pain.
13. Thereafter, the petitioner was put in a Police cell at the Negombo Police station and was detained therein till 26.06.2000 under a detention order issued by Daya Jayasundera DIG Western Province (north) Range under Emergency Regulations 19 (2) for 90 days.
14. While the petitioner was in detention at the said Police station from 21.06.2000 to 26.06.2000 on several days she was taken to a room and was subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by a group of Policemen, which included the Policeman who arrested her in Trincomalee in the following manner:
.Petitioner’s ear studs were removed and she was slapped with force on the ears;
·Her face was covered with a shopping bag containing chilli powder mixed in petrol and tied to the neck and loosened by the Police depending on her state of suffocation;
·On occasion she was forced to remove all her clothes except the underwear and bra and her face was covered with a shopping bag containing petrol and chilli and she was experiencing burning sensation all over her body.
·She was asked to lie flat on a table and while four policemen were holding her pressed to the table four other policemen pricked paper pins under the nails of the fingers, toes and simultaneously moved the pin in and out and the Petitioner was experiencing unbearable pain and blood was oozing from the pricked places;
·She was assaulted with a pole and wires all over the body and when she fell down unable to bear the beating they trampled on her body with boots;
·On another occasion they tied her hands to the roof of the room and while she was hanging they battered on her body with a pole;
·On one evening most probably on the 25th June 2000, the policemen who were torturing her asked her to place her signature on sOme statements prepared and brought by them and when she refused one policeman showed a plantain flower soaked in chilli powder which he had brought and said that it will be introduced it into her vagina unless she sign those papers.
·When the Petitioner refused to sign she was asked to remove her blouse and cover eyes with it and was asked to lie on a table. While she was lying down on the table 4 policemen were pressing her hands and holding her legs apart and the plantain flower brought by them was mercilessly inserted with force into her vagina and was pulled in and out for nearly 15 minutes. She was experiencing burning sensation and pain. The Petitioner was unconscious for few minutes and she was asked to be on the table till about 9.30 p.m. After which some sheets of papers typed in Sinhala was brought by them and being unable to bear the torture the Petitioner signed them. The contents of the said document was neither read nor explained to her.
·The petitioner was allowed to go into the cell with strict instructions that she should not wash her genital region and since she was crying one policeman showed mercy on her and by about midnight permitted her to the toilet;
·On another occasion her arms were brought below the knee and tied by a rope and having introduced a pole between the hands and thigh she was made to swing for about 15 minutes causing her severe pain of body.
15.The torture, cruel and inhuman treatment meted out to the Petitioner had affected her physically and psychologically as well and she is unable to lead her normal life and her matrimonial prospects stands shattered.
The Petitioner suffers from continous bleeding from vagina, pain in the lower abdomen and frequency of urine with pain and constant headache.
As a result of mental and physical trauma she underwent she suffers from depression, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, poor concentration, fear and nervousness.
16. The petitioner while in remand at Negombo Prisons came across the 18th January 2001 issue of the Tamil daily ‘Thinakaran’ in which a photograph of a Negombo Policemen who had recovered some articles from a group of robbers alleged to be headed by a Buddhist monk appeared. In that photograph she found the Policeman who stood ready with the plantain flower to introduce it into her vagina. His photograph is shown by a circle. Petitioner annexes herewith a scanned photograph of it marked P1 and has circled the photograph of the said Policemen. The petitioner states she could identify the other perpetrators as well if an identification parade is held.
17. Thereafter, when a Policeman of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) visited the petitioner at the Negombo Police cell, the petitioner pleaded with him and begged of him to remove her from the Negombo Police station and on 26.06.2000, the petitioner was transferred to the TID and was detained there till 20.09.2000.
18. While in detention at the TID she was mercilessly assaulted, subjected to degrading treatment by Sub Inspector Saman Karunaratne of the TID and was asked to write in Tamil what was dictated (to her) and to sign and date it. The statement the petitioner wrote contained several admissions that she was a member of the LTTE. Subsequent to her signing the statement it was brought back on the following day and the petitioner was asked to ad something more and to sign again and to alter the date, which the petitioner did. The petitioner was threatened that unless she writes and signs she will be handed over to the Negombo Police and therefore did what she was told.
19. While in detention at the TID, the petitioner had bleeding and she was taken to the Colombo National Hospital on 11 dates and treated.
20. On 19.09.2000 when the petitioner was produced before Dr. Sivasubramaniam Assistant JMO of the Colombo National Hospital by the TID she complained to him about the torture and saw him writing in (sic) sheet of paper and got her to sign it.
21. Thereafter, on 21 July 2000 the petitioner was produced before the Colombo magistrate under Emergency Regulations 19 (1) and when the petitioner attempted to inform him about torture, Sergeant Wijayaratne of the TID who produced her and who was by the side of the accused box interrupted, disturbed and prevented the petitioner from speaking and (the petitioner) was quickly taken out of court telling her that the magistrate will listen to her in his chambers. The petitioner was never given an opportunity to speak to the magistrate in his chambers. The learned magistrate also did not inquire from the petitioner whether she has got to say anything.
22.The Petitioner was again produced before the same Magistrate on 20.09.2000 with strict instructions that she should not attempt to speak to the magistrate and the magistrate had ordered her remand under Section 7 (2) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act No. 48 of 1979 and the Petitioner is now in remand at Negombo Prisons.
23. On 21.07.2000 while the Petitioner was at the TID she was taken to Vavuniya Pass Office by the said Sub Inspector Saman Karunaratne and Superintendent of Police Gamini Dissanayake of the TID, and a bundle of applications made by Tamils for pass to travel to Colombo was put before her and was asked to pick out the applications of the Tigers and when the Petitioner failed in her efforts to identify the application of the Tigers she was mercilessly assaulted by the said Saman Karunaratne in the presence of the said SP who at one stage intervened and advised the Petitioner to pick out some applications to avoid getting assaulted more.
24. On 23.10.2000, on an application made by the Attorney at Law of the Petitioner Colombo Magistrate ordered JMO Colombo North to examine the Petitioner and submit his report to Court. Following this the Petitioner was admitted to Ragama Government Hospital and warded for three days and was examined by an Assistant Judicial Medical Officer, a Consultant Psychiatrist, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and by a Consultant radiologist. A copy of the report of the said AJMO is annexed marked 'P2'.
25.Following the appeal made to Chairman, Human Rights Commission on her
Behalf to inquire into her complain of torture and to take appropriate action, Gowri Suntharalingam of the said Commission had taken a statement from the Petitioner in which she had told about the torture inflicted on her. However the said commission had not taken any further action. A copy of the said appeal is annexed marked 'P3'.
26. An appeal was made to Chairman, Presidential Committee on unlawful arrest as well on her behalf for which there was no response. A copy of the said appeal is annexed marked 'P4'.
27. The Petitioner submits that she had neither committed nor has been concerned in any offence and there could not be any reasonable grounds to suspect that she was concerned in any offence under the Emergency Regulations. The Petitioner's arrest was at the instigation of the 8t Respondent. And his friends the said Sekar and one Pathmakumar were found with the Police on one occasion when she was subjected to torture.
28.The Petitioner states that she was subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the said Police personnel and her rights guranteed by Article 11 of the Constitution have been violated by the said Respondents.
29. The Petitioner states, that her arrest, and detention are both wrongful and illegal and that her fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Constitution have been violated by the said Respondents.