Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court this week granted leave to proceed
with the fundamental rights petition of a Tamil girl from Kayts
in Jaffna who says Policemen tortured her in detention by
repeatedly inserting a plantain flower soaked in chilli powder
into her vagina.
The girl who is currently being held in the Negombo remand
prison states in her petition to the Supreme Court that she was
hung on a pole inserted between her thighs and arms which had
been tied together below the knee and that he body was made to
swing in that position; that she was hung from the roof and
battered with a cudgel; that Policemen tortured her by pricking
under her finger and toe nails with paper pins until she bled;
that she was mercilessly assaulted with poles and wires and
trampled with boots. The girl also states in her petition that
although she had appealed to the Human Rights Commission and the
Presidential Committee on Unlawful Arrests and Harassment, they
had not taken any action regarding her predicament. The case was
fixed for hearing on 7 June 2001.
The girl said in her
petition says that when she was produced before the Colombo
magistrate in court by the TID. But the TID officer had was
charge of her had deliberately obstructed her from telling the
judge about her condition and had taken her to see the
magistrate in his chambers; But that the magistrate did not ask
her whether she had anything to say when she was produced in his
chambers. The Supreme Court bench called for all records
relevant to the case from the Colombo magistrate’s court for
perusal. The court granted leave to proceed on 28 March.
The following is the relevant excerpt from the fundamental
rights application filed on behalf of the girl by her attorney’s
on 19 March:
1.The petitioner is a citizen of Sri Lanka aged 27 at the time
of the arrest.
2.The petitioner is from Kayts whose family got displaced in
1990 and was living in Jaffna till she (sic) got displaced again
in 1995 due to military operations and moved to Kilinochchi. The
petitioner while in Jaffna was a student at Ramanathan college,
Maruthanarmadam and had sat for GCE (O.L) examination”.
3. The petitioner’s mother had gone abroad for employment in
1989 and her father had deserted the family. The petitioner
while in Kilinochchi worked as a volunteer Primary teacher at
Sivapathakalalaiyam Government school for a short period in
4.While the petitioner was in Kilinochchi one of her aunts
arranged a marriage for her and requested the petitioner to come
to Negombo and she came on 23.01.2000 and was staying with the
said aunt at her residence at No. 47 Sylvester Road, Negombo.
5. As arranged by her said aunt, on 9 February 2000 marriage was
registered at Vavuniya between the petitioner and Thurairatnam
Maheswaran alias Babu (8th respondent) and the petitioner was
staying with her said aunt”.
6.Subsequently the petitioner having come to know that her
husband had previously contracted marriage and has two children,
refused to go through the Hindu customary marriage and to live
as husband and wife with the 8th respondent (sic)”
7.The 8th respondent on hearing her refusal was harassing and
threatening her to have the customary marriage. The petitioner
out of fear that the 8th respondent might harm her left for
Trincomalee on or about 7 April 2000 and took refuge at her
sister’s house in Trincomalee.
8. While in Trincomalee the 8th respondent was giving her (sic)
telephone calls threatening her that unless she returns to
Negombo and live with him, he will use his influence with the
Negombo Police and have her arrested as a member of the suicide
LTTE squad and have her tortured.
9. Thereafter, on the 21st of June 2000 while the petitioner was
at the People’s Bank, Trincomalee by about 11 a.m. a person
called Sekar, whom the petitioner knows as a friend of the 8th
respondent came tom the said bank and requested the petitioner
to come out. As soon as she came out of the bank a group of
Policemen, all males in civil (sic) headed by Wijesekara, R/Sub
Inspector arrested her, handcuffed her and put her in a private
Elf van that was parked there. One of the Policemen told her
that they had come from Negombo Police station to arrest her in
connection with an information lodged (sic) against the
petitioner by the 8th respondent.
10. While in the van she saw her brother inside the van hand
cuffed and the van was driven to the residence of the petitioner
brother at Trincomalee and the Police searched every nook and
corner of the house and ransacked it.
11. The said van with the petitioner the said Sekar and the said
Policemen was driven to Negombo; and it arrived in Negombo by
about 6.30 p.m. on the same day and the petitioner with the
handcuff was put inside a garage till about 10 p.m.
12. During this period she was detained in the garage she was
accused of being an LTTE suicide bomber and was tortured by the
Policemen who brought her from Trincomalee in the following
She was assaulted with a pole on her knees, chest, abdomen and
on her back. After a short interval they assaulted her again and
pressed her chest with the end of the pole as she was shouting
in unbearable pain.
13. Thereafter, the petitioner was put in a Police cell at the
Negombo Police station and was detained therein till 26.06.2000
under a detention order issued by Daya Jayasundera DIG Western
Province (north) Range under Emergency Regulations 19 (2) for 90
14. While the petitioner was in detention at the said Police
station from 21.06.2000 to 26.06.2000 on several days she was
taken to a room and was subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment by a group of Policemen, which included the
Policeman who arrested her in Trincomalee in the following
.Petitioner’s ear studs were removed and she was slapped with
force on the ears;
·Her face was covered with a shopping bag containing chilli
powder mixed in petrol and tied to the neck and loosened by the
Police depending on her state of suffocation;
·On occasion she was forced to remove all her clothes except the
underwear and bra and her face was covered with a shopping bag
containing petrol and chilli and she was experiencing burning
sensation all over her body.
·She was asked to lie flat on a table and while four policemen
were holding her pressed to the table four other policemen
pricked paper pins under the nails of the fingers, toes and
simultaneously moved the pin in and out and the Petitioner was
experiencing unbearable pain and blood was oozing from the
·She was assaulted with a pole and wires all over the body and
when she fell down unable to bear the beating they trampled on
her body with boots;
·On another occasion they tied her hands to the roof of the room
and while she was hanging they battered on her body with a pole;
·On one evening most probably on the 25th June 2000, the
policemen who were torturing her asked her to place her
signature on sOme statements prepared and brought by them and
when she refused one policeman showed a plantain flower soaked
in chilli powder which he had brought and said that it will be
introduced it into her vagina unless she sign those papers.
·When the Petitioner refused to sign she was asked to remove her
blouse and cover eyes with it and was asked to lie on a table.
While she was lying down on the table 4 policemen were pressing
her hands and holding her legs apart and the plantain flower
brought by them was mercilessly inserted with force into her
vagina and was pulled in and out for nearly 15 minutes. She was
experiencing burning sensation and pain. The Petitioner was
unconscious for few minutes and she was asked to be on the table
till about 9.30 p.m. After which some sheets of papers typed in
Sinhala was brought by them and being unable to bear the torture
the Petitioner signed them. The contents of the said document
was neither read nor explained to her.
·The petitioner was allowed to go into the cell with strict
instructions that she should not wash her genital region and
since she was crying one policeman showed mercy on her and by
about midnight permitted her to the toilet;
·On another occasion her arms were brought below the knee and
tied by a rope and having introduced a pole between the hands
and thigh she was made to swing for about 15 minutes causing her
severe pain of body.
15.The torture, cruel and inhuman treatment meted out to the
Petitioner had affected her physically and psychologically as
well and she is unable to lead her normal life and her
matrimonial prospects stands shattered.
The Petitioner suffers from continous bleeding from vagina, pain
in the lower abdomen and frequency of urine with pain and
As a result of mental and physical trauma she underwent she
suffers from depression, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, poor
concentration, fear and nervousness.
16. The petitioner while in remand at Negombo Prisons came
across the 18th January 2001 issue of the Tamil daily
‘Thinakaran’ in which a photograph of a Negombo Policemen who
had recovered some articles from a group of robbers alleged to
be headed by a Buddhist monk appeared. In that photograph she
found the Policeman who stood ready with the plantain flower to
introduce it into her vagina. His photograph is shown by a
circle. Petitioner annexes herewith a scanned photograph of it
marked P1 and has circled the photograph of the said Policemen.
The petitioner states she could identify the other perpetrators
as well if an identification parade is held.
17. Thereafter, when a Policeman of the Terrorist Investigation
Division (TID) visited the petitioner at the Negombo Police
cell, the petitioner pleaded with him and begged of him to
remove her from the Negombo Police station and on 26.06.2000,
the petitioner was transferred to the TID and was detained there
18. While in detention at the TID she was mercilessly assaulted,
subjected to degrading treatment by Sub Inspector Saman
Karunaratne of the TID and was asked to write in Tamil what was
dictated (to her) and to sign and date it. The statement the
petitioner wrote contained several admissions that she was a
member of the LTTE. Subsequent to her signing the statement it
was brought back on the following day and the petitioner was
asked to ad something more and to sign again and to alter the
date, which the petitioner did. The petitioner was threatened
that unless she writes and signs she will be handed over to the
Negombo Police and therefore did what she was told.
19. While in detention at the TID, the petitioner had bleeding
and she was taken to the Colombo National Hospital on 11 dates
20. On 19.09.2000 when the petitioner was produced before Dr.
Sivasubramaniam Assistant JMO of the Colombo National Hospital
by the TID she complained to him about the torture and saw him
writing in (sic) sheet of paper and got her to sign it.
21. Thereafter, on 21 July 2000 the petitioner was produced
before the Colombo magistrate under Emergency Regulations 19 (1)
and when the petitioner attempted to inform him about torture,
Sergeant Wijayaratne of the TID who produced her and who was by
the side of the accused box interrupted, disturbed and prevented
the petitioner from speaking and (the petitioner) was quickly
taken out of court telling her that the magistrate will listen
to her in his chambers. The petitioner was never given an
opportunity to speak to the magistrate in his chambers. The
learned magistrate also did not inquire from the petitioner
whether she has got to say anything.
22.The Petitioner was again produced before the same Magistrate
on 20.09.2000 with strict instructions that she should not
attempt to speak to the magistrate and the magistrate had
ordered her remand under Section 7 (2) of the Prevention of
Terrorism Act No. 48 of 1979 and the Petitioner is now in remand
at Negombo Prisons.
23. On 21.07.2000 while the Petitioner was at the TID she was
taken to Vavuniya Pass Office by the said Sub Inspector Saman
Karunaratne and Superintendent of Police Gamini Dissanayake of
the TID, and a bundle of applications made by Tamils for pass to
travel to Colombo was put before her and was asked to pick out
the applications of the Tigers and when the Petitioner failed in
her efforts to identify the application of the Tigers she was
mercilessly assaulted by the said Saman Karunaratne in the
presence of the said SP who at one stage intervened and advised
the Petitioner to pick out some applications to avoid getting
24. On 23.10.2000, on an application made by the Attorney at Law
of the Petitioner Colombo Magistrate ordered JMO Colombo North
to examine the Petitioner and submit his report to Court.
Following this the Petitioner was admitted to Ragama Government
Hospital and warded for three days and was examined by an
Assistant Judicial Medical Officer, a Consultant Psychiatrist, a
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and by a Consultant
radiologist. A copy of the report of the said AJMO is annexed
25.Following the appeal made to Chairman, Human Rights
Commission on her
Behalf to inquire into her complain of torture and to take
appropriate action, Gowri Suntharalingam of the said Commission
had taken a statement from the Petitioner in which she had told
about the torture inflicted on her. However the said commission
had not taken any further action. A copy of the said appeal is
annexed marked 'P3'.
26. An appeal was made to Chairman, Presidential Committee on
unlawful arrest as well on her behalf for which there was no
response. A copy of the said appeal is annexed marked 'P4'.
27. The Petitioner submits that she had neither committed nor
has been concerned in any offence and there could not be any
reasonable grounds to suspect that she was concerned in any
offence under the Emergency Regulations. The Petitioner's arrest
was at the instigation of the 8t Respondent. And his friends the
said Sekar and one Pathmakumar were found with the Police on one
occasion when she was subjected to torture.
28.The Petitioner states that she was subjected to torture,
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the said Police
personnel and her rights guranteed by Article 11 of the
Constitution have been violated by the said Respondents.
29. The Petitioner states, that her arrest, and detention are
both wrongful and illegal and that her fundamental rights
guaranteed by Articles 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Constitution
have been violated by the said Respondents.