Pasyala police shooting: AHRC calls for independent probe

Pasyala police shooting: AHRC calls for independent probe

Written by Bella Dalima

13 Jun, 2014 | 9:10 pm

The Asian Human Rights Commission says that the police officers who shot and killed a youth in Pasyala, Nittambuwa, should be tried and punished on manslaughter charges.

Subhash Indika Jayasinghe was shot dead by the police Tuesday.

The AHRC says that the investigation should be conducted by a team of independent experts.

The Asian Human Rights Commission notes that delays in the investigation will lead to the creation of an environment where police officers would be allowed to continue to commit such crimes with impunity.

The commission also mentions the recent incident where police had fired at a three-wheeler in Katunayake and had instead struck a by-stander.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has stated that the Sri Lanka Police are lawless and lack discipline.

The Commission notes that this situation needs to be addressed and it is against such lawlessness and indiscipline that the people are protesting.

[quote]Instead of addressing the virtual collapse of the policing system, the Ministry of Defence has issued pistols to all police officers. The Ministry of Defence should be held responsible for the violence being caused by police officers with these weapons; and the Sri Lankan public should protest against the policy of allowing police officers to carry dangerous weapons. [/quote]

The Asian Human Rights Commission adds that shooting people to stop traffic violations is a ludicrous explanation.

Lawyers point out that the use of minimal force should not end in death.

When Newsfirst made inquiries, an officer attached to the Nittambuwa Police informed us that the officers in question had been in possession of a police motorcycle when the incident occurred.

Lawyers say that in such an event, what the officers should have done is chase down the suspect who failed to heed their signal.

Attorney-at-Law Ajith Pathirana spoke on the matter:

[quote]With regard to minimum force, according to the law that we know, according to the law of this country, Section 32 of the Code of Criminal Procedures notes that the police can arrest a person without a warrant for failing to heed signals. Section 57 of the Police act too states that even when there is a warrant, the police officers cannot use unnecessary force. The arrest should be made within the legal framework. Police officers do not have the privilege of using unnecessary force or to take the law into their own hands. [/quote]

Saveen Chathuranga, a friend of the victim who was the pillion rider on the motorcycle, says that the police officers were under the influence of alcohol.

[quote]The police officers put out their hands and we stopped the motorcycle. We stopped on the Kandy road in Pasyala, Nittambuwa. They quickly came close to us and fired. We fell down. The police officers were drunk. There were five of them.[/quote]

When Newsfirst made inquiries, the police noted that a medical report would have to be obtained to state if the police officers in question were under the influence of alcohol.

Journalists questioned the Police Media Spokesperson at a media briefing convened Thursday on how the victim had been shot in the chest, if in fact the officers had been firing at the motorcycle.

SSP Ajith Rohana: As the media spokesperson I cannot give an opinion on this.

Question: Have you been informed of this?

SSP Ajith Rohana: I have been informed. It is the Judicial Medical Officer who is conducting the post-mortem examination that has the power to make a statement on that.

Question: The police officers say that they fired because the motorcyclist did not heed their calls when they flagged him down.

SSP Ajith Rohana: Yes.

Question : But the pillion rider who survived gave a statement, which you have not mentioned. Can you tell us now if possible, what that youth said?

SSP Ajith Rohana: The youth notes in his statement that they had come forward and had stopped and had then attempted to move again. He says that he was seated behind when the gun was fired. That is what he says in his statement.

The body of the victim, Subhash Indika Jayasinghe, was brought to his home in Kithulwala, Mirigama, early Friday morning.

Jayasinghe, 23, year old was a father of one.




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