The assault had allegedly taken place at the Peliyagoda Police station.
The 23-year-old youth, Migara Gunaratne, had been assaulted when he visited the Police station.
He is the son of former Central Province Governor, President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne and the brother of Attorney-at-Law Charitha Gunaratne.
Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera later ordered the Inspector General of Police to interdict the policemen involved in the assault and launch an investigation.
Subsequently, four policemen were interdicted over the incident.
Recalling the incident, Attorney-at-Law Charitha Gunaratne said that on 23rd of February he was instructed by his Senior Counsel to go to the Peliyagoda Police Station to represent a long standing client of his.
“At the Police Station I was informed my client was being held in the Special Crimes Unit, and once I made my way to the S.I.U, I witnessed my client being intimidated by a person in casual attire. I immediately stepped in and informed that person, who I believed to be a Police Officer, that this is my client and I am here to represent his interest as an Attorney-at-Law and held out my BASL ID Card to verify my credentials,” he said.
Charitha Gunaratne said that he was informed by his client that he had been assaulted by Police Officers multiple times in their custody and that they have threatened to pin unrelated drug charges on him and ensure he will be imprisoned if he does not heed to the demands of the Police.
“I made my way out to make a phone call and when I returned I heard the person who was in the casual attire threaten my client that he is surrounded by people who have been bought into custody for drug related offenses and it is quite easy for them to pin similar charges on him. Since I cannot designate what rank this person is of due to his casual attire, I addressed him as Sergeant whereas he started addressing me in choice Sinhala curse words and moved towards me. The Chief Inspector of the Police by the name of Linton Silva joined to intimidate me and demanded I prove my credentials. Once I gave him my BASL I.D card he wrote it down in his notebook.I simply stated to the Inspector that I had no choice but to address as Sergeant to a person clad in casual attire whilst carrying out duty. Then the Inspector accused me of being a drunk,” Charitha Gunaratne said.
Gunaratne said he challenged the officers to immediately present him to a breathalyzer test to verify if he was drunk.
“When I asked for the name of the Officers name he threatened me and told me to leave. I held my ground until my Client pleaded with me to leave as he will have to face the wrath of the Police if this situation escalates. Having left I immediately took action to inform the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and the relevant Police Departments of this unprofessional and gang-like behavior of the Peliyagoda Police,” Gunaratne said.
“Since my Client was of the opinion that my presence would be detrimental to his safety and health inside Police Custody, I asked my Brother, Migara (3rd Year Student at Sri Lanka Law College) to drop of some dinner for my client on the 25th of February,” Gunaratne added.
Gunaratne said that his brother was brutally assaulted by at least ten Police Officers when he went to hand over dinner for his client.
It is believed the Police Officers had mistaken his identity and had brutally assaulted him under the assumption that it was Charitha Gunaratne. (Colombo Gazette)