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A great travesty of justice - an appeal to the civil society to intervene in the murder of the 17-year-old, Sadun Mallinga

AHRC-STM-097-2014.jpgA 17-year-old boy named, P.H. Sadun Mallinga, from Atturukudua, Megahakiula, was arrested with his brother and brutally assaulted by a group of policemen from the Kandaketiya police without any reason. He died at the remand prison due to the severe injuries he suffered by the assault. He died in his brother's arms. Now the brother who is still in remand prison is suffering from mental stress and is in need of immediate treatment. However, he is unable to get such treatment as the police, after severely beating them, made false allegations and filed a case before the Magistrate's Court of Badulla where they were remanded.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is urging civil society organisations and individuals to intervene urgently to stop this travesty of justice. The police who have committed a murder are enjoying their freedom while the brother of the victim is being held in prison on false charges made by the murderers.

A short summary of the case is as follows:

On May 7, 2014, Sadun Mallinga with his brother, P.H. Kashun Nirage Maduwa and a cousin went to see a three-wheeler which was to be sold. On the way they were caught by a group of ten policemen which included Sub Inspector (SI) R.M.P. Somaratne. They were assaulted upon arrest and thereafter taken to the police station where the assault continued. While Sadun Mallinga was complaining about the severe pain he was suffering and requesting medical treatment the police kept them in a cell. The next day at around2:30 pm when the parents arrived at the police station they found Sadun Mallinga crying out loudly in pain. The boy told the parents that SI Somaratne and several other officers had assaulted him and that he had severe chest pains. His mother immediately made a request to the police officers to take her son to a hospital. However, the police officers told her that no senior officer was present at that time and that they should come back the next day.

The parents returned the following day and found their son lying on the floor and complaining about chest pains. The parents again pleaded with the police to send their child to a hospital. However, the police refused using foul language and told the parents that their sons would be produced in the Magistrate's Court of Badulla. The parents went to the court but the boys were not produced. On telephoning the police station they found that the boys had been taken to the court at Passara.

The parents then went to the Passara Police Station and sought the help of two lawyers and requested them also to inform the court that Sadun Mallinga had been severely assaulted by the police. The boy and the other accused were produced in court only at around 3 pm and as the official work of the court was finished the case was taken up at the Magistrate's Chambers. The police wanted the Magistrate to remand the accused until May 21. The lawyers who appeared for the suspects informed the Magistrate that Sadun Mallinga had been severely assaulted and needed medical treatment. Besides this, Sadun Mallinga himself told the Magistrate that he had been assaulted by the police. However, the lady magistrate did not make any order regarding medical treatment and ordered the suspects remanded until May 21.

Accordingly the suspects were then taken into remand and the parents informed some of the prison officers that their son had been assaulted and needed medical treatment. However, the prison authorities did not take any steps to refer him even to the prison hospital.

On morning of May 9, Sadun Mallinga died as his brother was holding him in his arms. The following day the boy's body was subjected to a post mortem where the Judicial Medical Officer concluded that the reason for his death was internal bleeding caused by the assault.

The AHRC draws the attention of the civil society in Sri Lanka that the police officers, the lady magistrate and the prison officers are all responsible for the death of Sadun Mallinga. We wish especially to emphasise the responsibility of the lady magistrate who failed to take action even after lawyers and the suspect himself made requests for medical treatment. She should be held responsible together with the police and the prison officers for his death.

The scandalous situation is that while all these culprits to a murder remain scot free the family of the deceased child is further tormented due to the orders of the Magistrate to keep the other family members in remand. The family is aware that Sadun Mallinga's brother in whose arms he died is in severe mental distress and the family is afraid that he may suffer a complete breakdown but they are unable to do anything as he is being kept in remand on court orders.

The AHRC wishes to draw the attention of the civil society of Sri Lanka that this is a case that deserves their immediate attention in order to avoid the continuing consequences of a grave travesty of justice.