Girl raped in Police checkpoint

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 June 2001, 15:23 GMT]
Three Policemen on duty at a checkpoint in downtown Colombo were arrested Monday for gang raping a girl in the early hours of the morning on Sunday. The girl was returning from work with a boy when she was stopped at the Police checkpoint near the Central Theatre in Maradana in downtown Colombo around 4.45 a.m. The Policemen had allegedly gang raped the girl after forcing her inside their checkpoint by threatening her that they would arrest and detain her on suspicion that she is a spy of the Liberation Tigers if she refused to get into the bunker. Any member of the Sri Lankan security forces regardless of his/her rank can arrest anyone if she/he has “reasonable ground” to suspect that the person has links with the Liberation Tigers under the provisions of the Emergency Regulations (18.1).

The girl, a Tamil from the island’s hill country, lives in a boarding house near the checkpoint, sources said. After raping her, the Policemen had threatened the girl that she should not to tell anyone about what had happened to her at the checkpoint.

However, the girl informed the owner of the building where she is boarded of the rape when she got there in the morning. The owner of the boarding had then taken the girl to the local Police station and lodged a complaint.

The girl has been admitted to a hospital for a medical report, Police sources said.

The sweeping powers given to the Police and the army under the Emergency Regulations (ER) are frequently abused to threaten and intimidate persons, particularly Tamils in the island’s capital, in the central province and the northern and eastern provinces. A person arrested under ER can be held for nine months without trial. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is also applicable to persons arrested and detained under the ER. Detention without trial can be extended beyond nine months under the provisions of the PTA.

A person’s confession to the Police is sufficient for convicting him/her under the PTA. This is one of the main causes of torture in custody human rights activists say.

The ‘required’ confession is more often than not obtained through torture. ‘Failing to provide information’ about the LTTE is a serious offence under the PTA. In theory, all Tamil civilians in the north and east could be accused of the offence. In fact, according to human rights lawyers, thousands of Tamils have been charged falsely for this offence and imprisoned.

Hence the fear of indiscriminate arrest, torture and prolonged detention often compel Tamils to submit to threats by any member of the security forces bent on intimidation, extortion, sexual harassment and even rape, lawyers say.


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