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Uploaded on Nov 25, 2010
Assassination of a torture victim and the death of criminal justice in Sri Lanka
On the 22nd November 2004 at 11:30 am, Gerald Perera, a torture victim who was to give evidence in the High Court of Negombo against six police officers from the Wattala Police Station who brutally tortured him, was shot while traveling to work. He died two days later due to his injuries.
Subsequent inquiries established that the assassins were the same police officers who were charged under the Convention against Torture Act (Act No. 22 of 1994). Several police officers voluntarily gave statements to the magistrate inquiring into the murder and were later made witnesses in the case of the assassination in an indictment filed by the Attorney General of Sri Lanka. A police sergeant, Suresh Gunasekara and an assassin who carried out the shooting were charged with murder at the same court where the torture case was being heard.
The case relating to the murder is still dragging on at the High Court of Negombo. With regard to the torture case the six police officers were acquitted by the High Court judge of torture charges in a judgement in which it was stated that the arrest of the torture victim by the accused police officers and the fact that he had been tortured while at the police station has been established by the prosecution, there was no evidence to the effect as to the direct involvement of the accused police officers in torturing Gerald Perera. This judgement has been appealed from and the Appeal Court of Sri Lanka gave leave to appeal for the petition and now the appeal case is pending before the Court of Appeal.