1. Unheeded requests from the Fernando family for state protection
An Affidavit [unofficial translation]
I, Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando, of 349/2A Jayamawatha Road, Dalupata, Negombo, being a Catholic, make oath and declare as follows:
1. I am the declarant in this case.
2. On 23/6/2008 at around 11am my wife, Surange, and myself were traveling in my three-wheeler bearing number 205/8052 to go to Negombo hospital to get treatment for my wife for asthma.
3. While going there near the Chilaw–Colombo Road at Dalupata Bridge [we saw] a lorry belonging to the category Chana bearing number WPL(D or G)/5347. And there we saw Niroshan and Namal, who are known to us, and two other persons who are not known to us.
4. As Niroshan and Namal extended their hands and signaled to stop we stopped the three-wheeler at that place. The driver of the three-wheeler in which we were traveling was Ajith. Niroshan and Namal put their heads into the three-wheeler and told us, threateningly, “If you fellows do not withdraw the petition for human rights you have filed against the Negombo police by tomorrow we will kill all of you. We have got the permission of the Negombo police to kill you.”
5. As we were frightened by this threat we turned the three-wheeler back and returned home.
6. Shortly after we came back home we heard a loud banging on the door of our gate and two people who were outside the gate shouting and telling, “Open the gate. If you do not withdraw the petition we will kill you all by the evening of tomorrow. Police have given us the permission. Open it.”
7. Due to fear we did not open the gate and when we looked over the gate we saw Niroshan, Namal and the two other persons that we saw before. The two persons who were hitting our gate and shouting were Niroshan and Namal. After a short time this group got into a vehicle and went away. I have learned that Niroshan is a person who has absconded from the armed forces.
8. It is very clear that the reason why these persons are making these threats to us is to make us withdraw the fundamental rights petition we have filed against several officers of the Negombo police station regarding violations of human rights.
9. On the same day (23/6/2008) we went to the Crimes office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police and made a complaint regarding this matter which bears No. SHB345/265.
10. Due to these threats we have become too frightened to remain in our house and we are requesting respectfully to provide protection and create an environment in which we can continue to live our lives.
Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando
24th June 2008 at Negombo, before Justice of the Peace, Rev. Ghanarathane
An Affidavit [unofficial translation]
I, Annakkarage Surange Sandamali Padmi [Pathmini] Peiris, living at No. 349/2A, Jayamatha Dalupatha, Negombo, being a Sinhalese Roman Catholic hereby declare oath and state honestly and truly as follows:
1. I am the declarant named above and the widow of the deceased Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishanta Fernando.
2. There is case No. B/479/8/NS at the Magistrate’s Court of Negombo regarding the assassination of my husband, the above named, and up to date other than the evidence given by me and the members of my family no other evidence has been uncovered about the murder of my husband.
3. I also state that under these conditions the persons who assassinated my husband, those who conspired to kill him and others who helped in that killing are moving about freely.
4. Up to now there have continuously been various types of threats to the effect that my children and I will be killed, and due to such threats none of us can live freely.
5. And that is the circumstances that we are facing. I have a reasonable ground to believe that the same persons who killed my husband will also kill my children and I and I have made complaints to relevant authorities regarding this threat.
6. As I have stated very clearly at the inquest proceedings into my husband’s death I believe the persons who killed my husband are those working in collaboration with and connected to the officers of the police station at Negombo whom I have named.
7. The reason for the murder is complaints I and my family members made on very reasonable grounds against a number of police officers of the Sri Lanka police and because we are to give evidence against them before courts.
8. By now we cannot under any circumstances live in our house in Negombo or places close to Negombo and it is not possible to live openly in any other part of the country also.
9. At this moment we are living in hiding in a helpless condition with the help and sympathy of many persons and there is no protection for us at all to live freely.
10. I have forwarded an affidavit dated 1/11/2008 regarding this matter to the Negombo Magistrate’s Court and thereby revealed to the court all the circumstances under which we have been living without protection and a copy of that affidavit has also been attached to this.
11. My daughter who was expected to take part in the exam for the GCE ordinary level is living under shock and mental anguish due to these threats and also is confused and depressed due to the murder of her father and therefore did not sit for the said exams.
12. Under these circumstances we are now living under serious threats and therefore we need protection; however, we are afraid to get any protection from the officers of the Negombo police or from any police station near Negombo.
13. At the same time it is not possible to live in hiding indefinitely and if we receive proper protection we are willing to live even in our own house.
14. Therefore at this moment we can have faith only in the officers of the Criminal Investigation Division and we request that you provide us the protection of these officers and the protection should be brought under the supervision of an Inspector General of Police.
15. We request to provide this protection until the end of giving evidence in several of the cases, and that if this protection is guaranteed to us we will divulge the places where we are hiding to the officers who are authorised to give us protection.
16. Given the serious situation we face we are in great need to be guaranteed protection and we have an expectation and a hope that such protection will be provided and as soon as a reasonable proposal for our protection is provided to us we will without fear accept such protection and whatever we have stated here does not imply the imposing of conditions but arises from the severe threats and the pressures we are facing.
After reading and understanding this statement affirming that it is true and correct I set my signature on 7th December 2008 before Supun Rathnayake, attorney at law, and a commission of oaths and company secretary,
A.S. Sandamali Padmi Peiris, declarant
2. Unheeded letter of the Asian Human Rights Commission to the Government of Sri Lanka seeking protection for the Fernando family
June 24, 2008
Hon. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe
Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights
2, Wijerama Mawatha
Fax: +94 11 269 3284 (ATTN: Mr. Rajiva Wijesinghe, Secretary)
Dear Mr. Samarasinghe,
Re: Save the lives of a family of torture victims facing death threats
A family in Negombo has complained of death threats made against the entire family due to a complaint of bribery and a fundamental rights application filed in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. S.K.A.S Nishanta Fernando, made a complaint against an Inspector of Police (IP) who solicited a bribe of Rs. 5,000/= from him and the Bribery Commission, having investigated the complaint, filed an action against this police officer at the High Court of Colombo. Later about 12 police officers surrounded the house of Mr. Fernando and severely assaulted his wife, A.S. S. Padma Peiris, and his daughter, Dilukshi, a minor and son, Anjana, also a minor, causing severe injuries.
The husband, wife and two children submitted a petition to the Supreme Court under the fundamental rights jurisdiction and the Supreme Court gave leave to proceed in this case. Yesterday, June 23rd, two persons made threats to the family to withdraw the fundamental rights application within 24 hours or otherwise the entire family would be killed. The family reported this matter to the Deputy Inspector General of Police at Peliyagoda yesterday.
The Asian Human Rights Commission yesterday made appeals to the chief justice, the Attorney General, the Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to investigate into this matter and provide protection to the family.
Fundamental rights application
In the Fundamental Rights Application, 446/07, the Petitioners have stated that both the husband and wife were approached by police officers demanding that they not give evidence in the bribery case bearing case number B/424/05, against the IP.
On November 12, 2007 a police squad arrived in jeeps, motorcycles and three-wheelers and surrounded the Petitioners house. They then abused and assaulted the family members. The husband was assaulted with fists and when he fell on the floor he was kicked and trampled until he fell unconscious. The wife was hit with a pistol on her forehead close to the eye, from which wound she started to bleed. Several police officers assaulted and trampled the wife even after she fell to the floor. The young daughter was slapped by a police officer and hit about the head. One police officer tried to remove her blouse, despite her struggle against this. She then started to scream. She was dragged to the police jeep and one of the officers tried again to lift her blouse. When she screamed again she was beaten. She shouted from the window asking someone to go and inform the grandmother. And when she inquired where they were being taken a police officer replied, ‘We are taking you to the beach to kill you.’ The young son was dragged to a wall and struck about the head, face and stomach. Due to this mistreatment he lost part of a tooth and his lip was split.
The husband regained consciousness only when he was inside the Crime Division of the Negombo police station and water had been thrown over him. One police officer was shouting that this fellow had to be killed and that the SSP has said to do this. He was dragged out of the room and overheard an officer speaking over the telephone to someone, ‘Sir that is the thing that I am writing now. This fellow who is half dead now is in front of me.’ Later, after their release all the members of the family sought medical treatment and the medical reports confirmed their injuries. In an application made to the Colombo High Court in the bribery case the High Court judge canceled the bail granted to the police officer who was the accused in this case.
It was about this assault on the entire family that the fundamental rights application was made and the Supreme Court granted leave to proceed. The death threats were made against the family for the purpose of forcing them to withdraw this fundamental rights application. In an affidavit signed by Mr. Fernando he states as follows:
On 23/6/2008 at about 11 in the morning, myself and my wife were going towards the Negombo hospital in our three-wheeler bearing number 205/8052 in order to get treatment for my wife. While we were traveling in Chilaw, Colombo Road, near Dalupatha Bridge, there was a heavy goods vehicle bearing number WP-L (DOG) 5347 and the persons named Niroshan and Nimal and some others unknown to the family were there. Niroshan and Nimal signaled us to stop the three-wheeler with their arms. The driver our other three-wheeler was one Ajith and he stopped. Niroshan and Ajith put their heads into the three-wheeler and told us threateningly “if you do not withdraw the human rights petition filed against the Negombo police by tomorrow morning we will kill all of you by tomorrow afternoon. The Negombo police have given us permission to kill you all.”
We were frightened by this threat, turned our vehicle and returned home. Shortly after our return we heard some people banging our gate and two people shouting, “Open the gate. If you do not withdraw the petition by tomorrow evening we will kill you all, the police have given us permission for that, open the doors.” Due to fear we did not open the gate but when we looked over the gate we saw Niroshan and Nimal whose names we do not know, hitting the gate. We clearly identified Niroshan and Nimal. A little later this group left in their vehicle. We have heard that this Niroshan is an army deserter.
These threats have been made against us to force us to withdraw the fundamental rights petition we have filed at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. We made a complaint at the office of the DIG crimes at Peliyagoda and the complaint bears number SIIV 345/266.
As they have threatened to kill us we are afraid to live in our house and we request that protection for our lives be provided and the conditions for the carrying out of our ordinary business be restored to us.
This incident is just a mirror of what is happening today in Sri Lanka, even in those areas which are far away from any conflict zone. Negombo is situated close to the main airport of the country and just a few miles away from the capital, Colombo. The incident, beginning with the soliciting of the bribe, to the torture of a whole family, and now the making of death threats, has taken place within this locality where there are check points with heavy police and military presence. The lives of the ordinary people are so disturbed by this type of threat constantly and complaints made to state agencies produce little, if any change in the situation. The famous case of the assassination of Gerald Perera, which also took place within this same vicinity, has become the symbol of the terrible fear that the people have to live with under the present circumstances.
Complaining about the police or other state agencies about bribery, torture or anything else, has become a dangerous exercise. Not only do these officers enjoy impunity for the wrongs they do, but they can also kill or harm those who complain against them. Complaining about violations of rights has become an offense that may carry capital punishment by unofficial means.
Under these circumstances we urge you to take the following steps for the protection of these persons as your ministry is named also, the Ministry for Human Rights:
1. Immediately investigate this matter through an independent police unit from outside the Negombo area, preferable through the Special Investigating Unit, which used to investigate torture related complaints.
2. Take immediate steps to provide protection for this family by assigning this task to a responsible unit who should take responsibility for the lives of the members of this family.
3. Until the problem is resolved take steps to provide alternative residence for the family with special protection for the wife and the two young children who are still minors.
4. Take steps to ensure prosecution of the offenders relating to the complaint of torture made earlier and narrated above and also for the making of death threats, including instigating criminal elements against this family.
Under the circumstances it would be natural to hold your ministry and other state agencies who have been informed of these threats responsible if any harm befalls any member of this family.
MOON Jeong Ho
Asian Human Rights Commission
3. Unheeded complaint to the Inspector General of Police from the president of Right to Life, a human rights group assisting Sugath Fernando’s family, over death threats
This is the written complaint by Kanukulage John Britto Fernando, 54 years of age; male; Sri Lankan citizen; a Catholic; married. Employment: a consultant on labour law, the president of the Right to Life, a human rights centre situated at: No. 555, Negambo Road, Kurana, Katunayake.
I am making this complaint regarding the death threats made to our office for the second time by a threatening telephone call made on the 24th of January 2009. I am making this complaint to the Inspector General of Police. We have made a previous complaint regarding death threats to our organisation and our lawyers on the 26th of September 2008, by way of a written complaint to the IGP [Inspector General of Police]. Regarding that complaint CIU division of the Criminal Investigation Division called us and recorded our statements, and informed us that inquiries into this have begun. On the 24th of January 2009, in the evening between 6:08 and 6:10 there was a call to our telephone number at our office 031 2221604. That telephone call was taken by a staff of our office, Prasanga Fernando. The person who gave that call spoke in a male voice and asked in Sinhalese, “Is your big fellow there?” and Prasanga has answered asking “Who do you want to speak to?” Then the caller asked, “Who are you?” Prasanga answered, “Before I tell you who I am, kindly tell me who you are.” Then the caller angrily said, “Who am I? Who am I? That will be told when you all have to pay with your lives. One fellow paid the price already… do you know? Where is your tie-kota?” (a derogatory reference to the lawyer). Then Prasanga asked, “Who do you mean by tie-kota?” Then the caller answered, “Who is tie-kota… do you really not know? I am talking to you for the second time now. No matter how many times you are told, you don’t stop? You all did a campaign in Puttalam? How many times have you been told, but you don’t listen. You fellows have not learned a lesson yet.” Then Prasanga said, “I don’t understand what you are talking about. Maybe you have got something mixed up. Maybe you are talking to the wrong telephone number.” Then, the caller answered, “Are you trying to be a baby? When two or three of your lives are lost, you will know who I am... you have your women and children, get ready and wait… if you don’t stop this…” Then Prasanga asked, “What is this about?” and the caller replied, “What is it about? You all get ready for a sacrifice… are you licensed thugs, you all go on the roads, let us see. Be ready and wait.” Then the call was disconnected. The telephone number of the person who called was 011 2260156, as noted in the caller display. We tried to call this number back but it was temporarily disconnected. We are frightened by the threats made to us and our lawyers continuously. Therefore we request you to conduct an inquiry into this and to arrest the persons who are making such threats. We also call you to take steps to provide protection for lives of our staff, including myself.
Affirming that all that was said above is true and correct, I set my signature below on this, 26th of January 2009.
4. Inquest proceedings into the killing of Sugath Fernando
Before Additional Magistrate Negombo Upul Rajakaruna Esqr.
Case No: B.479/08 N S (02)
Attorney-at-Law Balsius Dias appears for the aggrieved party.
Evidence at the Inquest led by Sub Inspector of Police Ekanayake of the Paliyagoda Crimes Division.
Evidence of the inquest is recorded in open court.
Siyaguna Kosgodage Sinesh Antony Fernando, 11 years. 349/2/A Jaya Mawatha Road, Dalupotha, attends Central College:
I study in the 6th grade. I have one sister; that is an elder sister. Elder sister’s name is Kalpani Dinushi. My father’s name is Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando. My mother’s name is Annakkarage Suranji Sadamali Pathmini Peris.
My father hired out a Cantor [lorry] as his job. This lorry was earlier driven by my father. After that a driver was taken temporarily. If a hire was obtained, Father would give the lorry to the driver to go on the hire. On such hires some days my father would also go. A hire is going for a journey for payment.
The lorry is parked a little ahead of the Dalupotha junction for the purpose of going on hires on the main Kochchikade–Negombo road, by the side of a drain. I cannot remember the number of the lorry. A blue coloured lorry. The make is Mitsubishi.
I remember 20/09/2008. That day my father left home to go on a journey at about 8.00 in the morning. It was school holiday and I went with my father in the lorry to a little this side of the Dalupotha junction. That day my father drove the lorry himself. It was about 8.15 or 8.20 when we went to that place. We went to the said place and stopped the lorry at the place where the lorry is normally parked near the drain. The lorry was facing the Kochchikade direction. It was parked on the right hand side of the road. My father was seated in the driving seat with the door opened to get the breeze. I was seated on the left side next to the seat where my father was.
The drain was a deep one. There was about a foot between the drain and the lorry. A person can come or go along that one foot. When we were waiting with the lorry parked there, my father went to Peryamulla to bring some goods for the three-wheeler. I can’t remember the time my father went. It took my father about half an hour to return with those goods. After returning my father was seated in the same seat as before. At that time he did not fall asleep. During that time nobody came to negotiate hires. When we were waiting like this a bicycle [motorcycle] came near the lorry and stopped behind the lorry on the left side. There were two people who had come on the bicycle. One person was wearing a helmet and he was the person who drove the bicycle. Both were covering their faces with black scarves like a handkerchief. They did not stop the bicycle and get down. They were seated on the bicycle and turning the handle this side and that side. I saw this through the side mirror. These people had covered the portions below their noses along with their mouths. I did not turn and look at them, I looked only through the side mirror. I did not see what they did there after. Within about 1 or 2 minutes I saw someone coming from the side where my father was. When I say that it was somebody I say that it was one of the persons who came on the bicycle. That person’s face too was covered in that manner. He came and initially pointed a gun and shot. Nobody was shot at that time. It was a tiny black colored gun like the ones I have seen in films. That shot did not strike anybody. It had struck the back of the seat on which my father was. Immediately thereafter another shot was fired. Then I shouted aloud. I shouted aloud asking whether there was no one around. With that gun shot sound my father fell on to my lap. I saw blood coming from a little above my father’s ear. (Witness shows that point in his body). I kept my father like that and got down from the lorry. After I got down I called the brother [i.e. an older person] in the Land Master [small motorized tractor]. I do not know his name. He was there about 40 feet away. (Shows about 40 feet distance). I told that brother that two people came and shot my father and went away. Then that brother came there. As this was happening one of the people that shot ran and got onto the bicycle and both of them rode the bicycle fast towards Kochcikade. That bicycle was a red colour Pulser model bicycle. I cannot remember the number of the bicycle. The Land Master brother came there, then left me and ran and got a three-wheeler and came back.
Thereafter my elder sister came (elder sister came after the Land Master brother came). My sister came and shouted to the village people. At the same time my father’s mobile phone rang. My sister took that call and I recognized that the call was from home. It was my mother calling. My elder sister told my mother that my father had been shot. My father was taken out of the lorry with the help of the village people. He was taken out and put in a three-wheeler and taken to the Negombo hospital by my elder sister.
I waited there. My mother did not come to the place where the lorry was. I went to my grandmother’s house, which is on the Pillawa road. I told that my father had been shot by somebody and that he had been taken to hospital. My mother’s younger sister, my grandfather and my mother’s brother came quickly and went to the hospital. I stayed back in that house.
I got to know that my father had died when the people who went to the hospital came back. There were enemies of my father where we parked to go on hires. They were from the police.
They were angry that a case had been filed against the police. The chief officer of the police came to our house and assaulted my father, my mother, my elder sister and myself. This happened at about 7.00, last year, 2007; I cannot remember the date. This happened on a day towards the end of the year at about 7.00.
There was a case filed against a police officer on a complaint made by my father that the officer had taken a bribe. They came home and assaulted us in this manner demanding that the case is withdrawn. At that time we were assaulted we complained to the Human Rights [Commission]. We also complained to the Bribery [Commission]. We did not make a complaint to the police. As far as I know I do not know whether that complaint was inquired into. Other than this my father did not have any other enemies. Nobody in the village was angry [with him about anything].
After this incident I went to the mortuary to see my father. At this time I was not called before the judge and the chief doctor. I have nothing more to say regarding this incident. (The witness shows the length of the gun on his right palm as about three inches in breadth and 8 inches long) This is all I have to state.
The evidence was read over and accepted as correct and signed
Siyaguana Kosgodage Kalpani Danushi Fernando. 16 years. 349/2/A Jaya Mawatha Road Dalupotha, Negombo. Religion Catholic. Sworn
I go to school. I go to the Dalupotha Central College. I am studying in year 11. It was my younger brother who gave evidence earlier. My father’s name is Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando. My mother’s name is Annakkarage Surangi Sadamali Pathmi Peris. There is nobody else in my family except my father, mother, younger brother and myself.
My father used to hire vehicles. A Cantor means a Cantor model lorry. Before working in the lorry I cannot remember what my father did. There are temporary drivers when a hire is obtained. That person is put to go on the hire. If it [the hire] comes suddenly my father also works. There is a gas shop about 100 meters from the Dalupotha junction near which the lorry is parked to go on hires. I remember the day 20/09/2008. It was a school holiday. That day my father went with the lorry and took my younger brother at about 8.00 in the morning. They went to the place where they go for hires on other days. I and my mother were at home. When we were at home, mother phoned my father. I can’t remember a time. I was told to come to the road to give some goods purchased. I was also told for me to bring a bottle of cool water. By the time I took these and went it would have been past 10.00. As I came to the junction I saw a crowd gathered around my father’s lorry. There were a lot of people. I went there. I saw the people who had gathered peeping into the lorry. Since they were peeping into our lorry I went to see what had happened. At that time my father was inside. My father was fallen on his side on the seat. There was blood on my father’s face. Then I got into the lorry and spoke to my father. Saying “Father get up”. My father did not talk. Then a call came to my father’s phone which was in his pocket. That call had come from my mother. I did not answer the phone the first time. It got cut the first time. The second time I spoke. As I said hallo my mother asked from the other side for Sugath. I told my mother that father had been shot. My father had fallen inside the lorry when I got in to the lorry and looked at my father I saw a wound on his head. I then realized that he had been shot. Nobody told me that he had been shot. As I got in I looked at my father. I saw a wound that looked like a hole on my father’s head. Because of that I thought he had been shot.
When I went there I did not see my younger brother. There were people who had seen this incident I do not know some of them. We have a Land Master. That is driven by a brother. I do not know his name. I did not see him there. The people around told me to call 119. I took a call to 119. I told them that I was at the Dalupotha junction and that my father had been shot. I said that I would take my father to the hospital in the lorry. When I said so, I was asked what the police area is. I said Negombo. They said not to take [him] in the lorry but to take a different vehicle. We took my father in a three-wheeler. My father was put into a three-wheeler and I took my father to the hospital. My father was admitted into the hospital by me.
When I took him to hospital the doctors told to wait outside till they examined him. I told them, I cannot go outside, you can do what you want. I was told again to go out. They brought me outside. As I was coming out from near the O.P.D. door I saw my mother coming in a three-wheeler. From near that door itself I told my mother that father had been shot. The doctors examined my father and did not say anything. I and my mother went in and told the doctors to take father to Colombo. They said that they will take him and to go and to wait outside. We waited for about 5 minutes outside. After about 20 minutes or half an hour of being admitted to hospital we got to know that father had passed away.
We cried when we were told that father had died. The police recorded our statements regarding this. We gave statements to the Negombo police regarding this incident. At the Negombo hospital mortuary mother and I identified father’s body before the honorable judge and the doctor. The people who helped to put father into the three-wheeler were the people who were there. I do not know who they were. While father was being taken in the three-wheeler he did not talk at any time. I called the 119 from my father’s phone.
My father takes the lorry where he hires. What I have to say about my father’s death is that there were threats from the Negombo police. There were death threats. My mother was due to give evidence in a case which was a bribery case. It was [a] case against a police officer named Dharmadasa in the Negombo police. The threats were regarding that case. There were threats stating not to go to give evidence in the case. The threats were made by the officers of the Negombo police. I do not know who. I was told not to go to give evidence in the case.
Two people from the police came to the house on 12/11/2007 at about 5.30 in the evening. They were in uniform. They came and asked if I was going for the case on the 14th. They asked from my mother and father. Then father said they were going. Thereafter they said not to go and if they went [mother and father] that they will be killed. The bribery case I said about is still being heard. As far as I know. At the time of those threats, we made a complaint to the Bribery Commission over the phone regarding those threats. I cannot remember whether a statement was given regarding this. The two people who came to threaten were about 25-30 years of age. One was tall and a little thin. The other person had a number. I cannot remember his number. He was also of the same age. When the police came that day and when my father said that they were going for the case the tall police officer hit my father. The other police officer knocked me with the motorcycle. Thereafter they sent a message that these people are not listening to what we say and to come quickly. They spoke through a radio used by police officers. Thereafter three motorcycles came with six officers. They were in uniform. They came and scolded us. They scolded using filthy words and told us not to go to the case. They said they would kill us if we go. I wrote down their numbers. I cannot remember them now. They are not at home. I cannot remember if the people who I said about are presently in the Negombo police. If I see them I can recognize them.
Apart from the threats from the police, three other people from the village have threatened my father to withdraw the case filed against the police. One person’s name is Namal. His younger brother is Saman. I cannot remember the other person’s name. I can recognize the said three persons if I see them. I do not know if there were any cases in the human rights. I do not have anything to say about this incident. I do not know who shot [my father]. Did not get to know from the people who were around the lorry as to who shot.
When father was in the lorry there was blood on the seat. There was blood on the body and hands. The shop next to the drain which sold goods was open that day. That is all I have to say.
The evidence was read over and accepted as correct and signed
Annakkarage Surangi Sadamali Pathmi Peris, 33 years. Unemployed. 349/2/A Jaya Mawatha Road Dalupotha Negombo. R Catholic. Sworn.
My husband is Siyaguna Kosgodage Anton Sugath Nishantha Fernando. I have been married for 14 years. We reside at the house in Dalupotah.
We have two children. Evidence was given earlier by these two children. These two children go to school. They go to Dalupotha Central College.
At the time I married my husband he used to supply king coconuts and coconuts to shops by bike. He used to take [them] wholesale. Sugath had a disability in one hand due to a cut he received at a political incident in 1999. As far as I know it was by United National Party supporters. After that incident my husband supplied sand and bricks at building sites. After negotiating with vehicles he used to take from outside vehicles and go and deliver.
In the recent past my husband had a Cantor model lorry and a hand tractor (K 700). A boy came and was employed for the hand tractor recently. The person who worked it earlier went to join the forces. The boy who came recently was called Niroshan. Till the 23rd of June this year there was a permanent driver to work in the lorry. Thereafter since there were death threats from the police he was not at home but in hiding. Therefore when a call came for a hire they were told to go for some of them. After this driver left (he was frightened to come), temporary people were employed.
I remember 20/09/2008. That day this lorry was taken by my husband and he went with my son. It was between 8.00 – 8.30 in the morning. They went to the place where the lorry is parked for hires at the Dalupotha junction. This lorry was not taken to that place from 23/06/2008 till the aforesaid date. One day (on the 17th of this month) the lorry was taken there and I also went. My husband left me there and said to take on a hire if a driver comes. My husband went on my son’s bicycle to the place where the three-wheeler we had was repaired. Thereafter the lorry was parked there only on the 20th.
That day [my husband] went with the son. Everyday I go with my husband but that day my husband told me to come later on after cooking. When my husband was leaving home he told to send the daughter as he had to go on the bicycle and get some goods for the three-wheeler from the Periyamulla shop. He told me to send the daughter to collect the same. After leaving home my husband did not call me. My husband had given money to the daughter to purchase groceries from the shop and take home to cook. My daughter brought only the rice and told me, Mother, Father told me to buy dry fish, but I did not buy it, therefore call father and ask what to do.
Thereafter when I called my husband, he told me to send the daughter with a bottle of ice water and that he would send fish through the daughter. Thereafter daughter left with a bottle of ice water. I gave another call after daughter had left. It was to my husband. The first call was answered. I heard a big noise. The call got cut. When I called again my daughter shouted aloud, I only heard her say Mother, Father, Father. Thereafter I also started running from the house to the road. After that a person who came on a motorbike took me to the Dalupotha junction. When I went near the lorry there were a lot of people. I did not see my two children or my husband. A person who was there put me into a three-wheeler and told me to go quickly; that my husband had been shot and had been taken by my daughter to the hospital.
Thereafter I went to the hospital. My daughter came running shouting, Mother, Father has been shot. I too ran and looked at my husband. I then told the doctor to take my husband to Colombo. I was told that they he was going to be taken to Colombo and to wait till then. Thereafter, from my house, my father and my brother and a friend of his came. An uncle who had come told me that my husband had passed away.
After my husband passed away I told not to hold inquiry at the Negombo police but asked that the Police Head Quarters to conduct inquiries. I did not give a statement to the Negombo Police. I know that the Paliyagoda Crimes Division is conducting inquiries regarding the death. I gave a statement to the Paliyagoda Crimes Division. At the Negombo Hospital before the judge I identified [my husband]. Before the doctor, the body was identified by the husband’s brother.
My husband had enemies. They are: Senior Superintendent of Police Premasiri Vithrna, Head Quarters Inspector Somasiri Liyanage, IP Bandara, IP Subasinghe, IP Priyadarshana, IP Silva, SI Abeynayake, SI Rohana, PC Dissanayake of the Negombo police.
My husband and I bought a lorry from Mahinda Pathirana the OIC who was at the Kochchikada Police. We bought it for cash. As I remember in the year 2004. About 2003, May. We gave that gentleman three and a half lakhs [350,000]. The lorry was five lakhs. We paid that and bought the lorry. There was another shortfall of one and a half lakhs to be paid. We promised to pay that and bought. We paid little by little. Paid and finished. Thereafter we asked for the legal book of the vehicle. We asked for this book from him several times. He started to evade us without giving the book. Thereafter we made a complaint to the National Police Commission. This complaint was investigated by the Paliyagoda Crimes Division and that gentleman was produced in court. After that he was suspended from work.
There was that incident and my husband had also made complaint to the Bribery against the gentleman called IP Dharmadasa of the Negombo police. For that complaint a case was filed against Dharmadasa in 2006. Action was filed against the OIC Kochchikade in 2005. That case is not over yet. Husband has concluded giving evidence. Due to this reason the police were angry.
At every instance we went to the Negombo police station for a necessity, pressure was brought by the Negombo police officers to withdraw the bribery case. We did not withdraw the case due to this pressure. Because the case was not withdrawn I had to give evidence on the 14th of November 2007. On 12th November 2007 SI Abeyanayake and PC Dissanayke of the police (of the Negombo police) came to our house on a traffic bike and threatened us not to give evidence in the case that was on the 14th. SI Abeyanayake is the person who threatened us not to give evidence in the High Court case. My husband and I said that we have received summons from the High Court and we are going to give evidence. At that time Mr. Abeyanayake gave slapped my husband on his cheek. [The] constable called Dissanayake knocked my daughter with the bicycle [motorcycle]. At that time I called the Bribery Commission on the telephone and told them about this. They did not go away. They sat blocking the gate entrance and got down three more bicycles. There were six officers on those three bicycles [motorcycles]. They were called and brought down. They called with something that was in their hand and got them down. Those six who came were in uniform. When they started to get down I called the Bribery Commission again. Those gentlemen (from the Bribery) told me to write down the numbers of the people who had come. The daughter stayed in front of the house and wrote their numbers. These details that were written have been given to the Bribery [Commission]. Thereafter the Bribery Commission said that they would call the HQI [Head Quarters Inspector] and tell and that he would come and settle this problem.
Thereafter at about 6.00, about 50 [persons] from the police came to the house. I showed the summons to the HQI and told him that the gentleman named SI Abenayake was threatening not to go to give evidence in the High Court case and that he had hit my husband and knocked my daughter. Thereafter the H.Q.I used filth and assaulted my husband. When he was assaulting my husband I came running. H.Q.I Somasiri hit me with a pistol on my head, from where it bled.
We made a complaint with regard to this incident to the Bribery Commission.
Did you go for the case on the 14th?
Could not go. Was in the Negombo hospital.
Was the High Court informed regarding this incident?
Yes. With regard to my assault there is a case in the Supreme Court bearing number 446/2007 for breach of fundamental rights. Further, an investigation was done by the Bribery Commission. Because of these incidents the police were angry with us.
Regarding which incident did the HQI assault you?
Because we were going to give evidence in the Bribery Commission case. The respondents in the Supreme Court case are: Negombo Superintendent of Police Mr. Premasiri Vitharna, SP Mahanama, HQI Somasiri Liyanage, IP Bandara, IP Subasinghe, IP Silva, IP Priyadarshana, SI Abeyanayake, SI Rohana, Nihal, Leelsena, Sarjent Silva, PC Dissanayake. I am the petitioner in this case. Prior to the death of my husband a complaint was made to the National Police Commission regarding threats made by the Negombo Senior Superintendent of Police, Premasiri Vitharna, in connection with these incidents to kill my husband. The Colombo SIU (Special Investigation Unit) had taken a statement from my husband regarding that. Because of these incidents I suspect these police officers. Therefore I think that this would have been done by the police.
Three people in the village made death threats to my husband to withdraw the Fundamental Human Rights case. (The case we have filed against the police). Threats were made for the first time on 23/06/2008. The threats were from Namal, his younger brother Saman, and an army deserter called Nirosh. On the evening of the day that the incident happened I and my husband met the Deputy Inspector General of police Paliyagoda and lodged a complaint. We were met one day with regard to this complaint. I do not know what happened regarding same.
On 25/06/2008 a white van came to our house between 7.00–8.00 in the night. This was answered by the boy who worked the tractor. When I looked out of the window I saw two people in police uniform and about four people in civilian clothes. They asked for my husband, where is Sugath? The boy who was at home said, they are not at home and have gone to get medicine, if there is any necessity to tell him. Thereafter they threatened [him] and went away. They said, we want Sugath and we will catch Sugath. The boy said that that brother is not here, if you have a telephone number give it and it will be given when they come.
They started the vehicle and went away at high speed. My husband’s death has occurred because of these incidents. There were no other enemies for my husband. The police were angry with us regarding case 446 (446/2007) that and in connection with the bribery case (B1658). The defendant in that is the person called IP Dharmadasa who was in prison for three months after he jumped into our house and assaulted us. I do not suspect any other then those whom I stated. I suspect the person named IP Dharmadasa, the people from the police, and those three people from the village. I have made several complaints against the police. Therefore I think that there is a threat to my life and to the life of my children from these people. The bribery case was taken up on the 3rd of July and postponed. This case is again on the 1st of December.
I do not know about the people who shot [my husband]. Yesterday two unknown people have come and videoed the funeral house along with us. They said they are known. That is all I have to say.
The evidence was read over and accepted as correct and signed
Posted on 2009-03-13