The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has commenced investigations into the deaths of suspects while under the custody of the Police.
In a letter to the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), the HRCSL highlighted the significant increase in deaths of prisoners while in custody.
The Commission pointed out that since July 2020, eight suspects, including notorious underworld figure Makandure Madush, have been reported to have died while in Police custody.
Measures have been taken by the HRCSL to protect the fundamental rights of prisoners in custody and conduct investigations into incidents of such violations of rights.
Special attention has been focused on the death of Makandure Madush, as the suspect had died during a special operation despite the Police Department being informed there was a threat to his life via a complaint filed on 18th October and instructions issued by the HRCSL on the measures to be taken by the Police Department to ensure his safety.
Several officials of the Colombo Crimes Division and certain Police station had been summoned by the Commission on 21st October over the incident and other custodial deaths, but the officers had not reported as summoned, which is deemed as a violation of the Human Rights Act, the HRCSL pointed out.
The Commission said that on 27th August a discussion had taken place with the Acting IGP on deaths reported of suspects while in Police custody.
The continuous occurrence of such incidents shows the breakdown in the rule of law in the country, it said.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka further called on the Police Chief to commence an investigation into custodial deaths and to implement measures to prevent such incidents in the future. (Colombo Gazette)