Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission writes to police chief on custodial deaths

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has called a report from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the recent killing of two alleged underworld figures in police custody.

In a letter written to the IGP dated May 17, the HRCSL said the killing of alleged gang leader Dharmakeerthi Tharaka Perera Wijesekara alias Kosgoda Tharaka, who police claimed had died following a shootout on May 13, and that of Mabulage Dineth Melan Mabula alias Uru Juwa who died on May 11 under similar circumstances, has put the rule of law in a precarious position.

Two complaints have been filed at the HRCSL regarding the incidents, filed under HRC/1216/21 and HRC/1176/21, the letter noted.

Calling for a comprehensive report from the IGP by May 30, the commission said the police is duty bound to ensure the security of suspects in its custody – a fact that has been highlighted in pronouncements of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court.

Last week, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) condemning the incidents said they had the hallmarks of extra-judicial killings. The two deaths were an affront to the rule of law and will tarnish the country’s image, the BASL said.


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