Detainees forced to sign pre-prepared statements

Detainees are being forced to sign pre-prepared statements at the Police Headquarters, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) said.

In a letter to Acting Inspector General of Police C.D.C. Wickremaratne, Ramani Muttettuwegama, the Commissioner in charge of Investigations and Inquiries said that under Section 11(d)of the HRCSL Act No. 21 of 1996, the Commission is required to continuously monitor the conditions of persons in custody.

“As mentioned to you during our meeting with the National Police Commission, many detainees have complained of pressure in relation to self-incriminating statements. These include frequent trips to police headquarters where pre-prepared statements are proffered to detainees in Sinhala for their signature, inducements such as promises of release if statements are signed and threats such as charges based on falsehoods if they are not signed,” HRCSL said in the statement.

HRCSL attached a letter provided by the Police Department were some element of these practices was clearly demonstrated.

“You will note the language of “advised to provide confessions” in relation to several detainees. As you are aware, the admissibility of self incriminating statements, even under the PTA, is based on the test of voluntariness as required by Section 24 of the Evidence Ordinance,” the letter states.

HRCSL requested the acting IGP to let them know what steps have been taken in this regard to ensure validity of statements made to the Police. (Colombo Gazette)

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