The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information about the extra-judicial attempt to kill Mr. Bodhipakshage Manjula Prabath Wijewardana a residence of Aranayaka in Kegalle. He was waiting on the road, in front of the Mayurapada Central College in Mawanella Town at 10:30 a.m. on 13 June 2017. Unexpectedly, the Police directly fired at him shooting him in the leg and causing him to fall down. Police transported the victim by police jeep to the Mawanella Base Hospital where he was admitted for emergency treatment. No investigation has yet been carried out regarding the attempt on his life. The Police claim they were in the process of arresting Manjula.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information about the case of Mr. Bodhipakshage Manjula Prabath Wijewardana of Nisansala, Arama, Aranayaka in the Kegalle District.
At 10:30 a.m. on 13 June 2017, Manjula was waiting on the main road, in front of the Mayurapada Central College in the Town of Mawanella. Without warning several police officers appeared in front of him, took aim and directly fired at him. Manjula’s left leg was hit and he fell to the ground. Later he was brought by police jeep and admitted to the Mawanella Base Hospital for emergency treatment.
Before the shooting, Manjula was not aware that the police officers were going to arrest him. He was not ordered by the police to obey their orders. Manjula did not know of any reasons why the Police would abruptly, without warning, directly shoot at him. He was not given any reason for his arrest or shown an arrest warrant. Police failed to produce any evidence that they tried to arrest him in a peaceful manner. Manjula respectfully states that he never tried to escape from being arrested by the Police.
A Police Communiqué was issued, stating that Manjula escaped being arrested by the Police. They never produced any independent evidence that there was a legally issued arrest warrant against him. No facts were submitted showing that Manjula tried to run away and prevent the officers from arresting him.
The family members of Manjula maintain that the Police attempted to extra-judicially kill their relative. This is another indication of the faulty Policing System in Sri Lanka. It extra-judicially kills innocent suspects under the guise of crime prevention.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported numerous cases of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killings of citizens at the hands of the Sri Lankan police. Under international and local law, these are illegal actions. They have been taking place daily at police stations all over Sri Lanka. It is common knowledge that the Police use torture as an instrument to terrorize innocent people, harass the general public and instill fear. Presently, the Police are implementing a policy of ‘elimination with extreme persuasion’ or in plain language–murdering suspected criminals. They arrest and kill people without their ever being produced in a Court of Law.
Needless to say, there is a lack of protection for those lawyers willing to take up cases against abusive Police Officers and State Authorities. This means that the Law continues to be employed as a tool by the authorities to control the population. By undermining society’s respect for the Law and allowing impunity to go on unabated, a long-term, psychological and financial burden is placed on the shoulders of victims, their families and society in general.
Please write to the Authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. Kindly request an immediate investigation into allegations of an attempted extra-judicial killing by the Police. Prosecution of those proven to be responsible under Criminal Law is imperative. The officers involved should also be subject to an internal investigation for breach of Police Departmental Orders. The AHRC will write a separate letter to the Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions in this regard.