Death in custody: What we know

Death in custody: What we know

Death in custody: What we know

Written by Lahiru Fernando

26 Feb, 2017 | 8:05 pm

Five police officers have been arrested in connection to the death of a suspect. The suspect was arrested and taken to the Peliyagoda Police.

The relatives of the victim have leveled accusations against the police over the death.

A Police Sub-Inspector and four police constables were arrested at the Police Headquarters. The officers were arrested by a ‘Special Police Team’.

Reports say that the arrested officers are to be produced before court.

42 year old Chadik Shyaman Wickramarachchi, was a resident of Rakgahawatte inBiyagama who drove vehicles for hire for a living.

Chadik

Chadik Wickramarachchi

He was a father to a 7 year old son and a one month old daughter.

The incident

A group of police officers had visited Chadik’s mother’s residence last night (February 25). The officers had claimed that they wished to take Chadik to the police station to record a statement – alleging that he was in possession of a weapon.

However Chadik’s mother informed the officers that he was not home. Following which the officers had visited Chadik’s house (neighboring house) and had taken him to the Peliyagoda Police Station in a vehicle.

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The mother’s account;

The officers reached Chadik’s house and knocked on their door. However the lady at the house had told the officers that they were alone and therefore they would not open the door. She had also questioned who the officers were.

After the lady said she would call 119, the officers had told her to “go ahead”.

Then, just as she turned away from the door to pick up the phone, the officers had crashed in through the back door.

Chadik had stood up when the officers asked for him. When he asked them who the the officers were and what they wanted, Chadik was told they were from the Peliyagoda Unit and that they need to record a statement from him.

The officers had then taken Chadik away in a vehicle.

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When the family prepared to visit the Peliyagoda Police Station the next morning, a family friend had informed the family that Chadik was not at the Police Station. Family members were informed through another friend that Chadik had been taken to the Colombo National Hospital.

Eventually, Chadik’s body was recovered at the Police Mortuary in Colombo.

According to a relative of Chadik, -The shirtless body of Chadik -covered in sand- was handed over to the family on a tray.

Police responds…

DIG Priyantha Jayakody has said the suspect had fallen ill while in police custody. The DIG added that Chadik was taken to hospital, where he passed away.

According to Jayakody Chadik was arrested following information provided by another suspect who was arrested in connection with several robberies.

Nevertheless, IGP Pujith Jayasundera ordered for an immediate investigation into the death.

The incident however, is not the first of its kind.

September 30, 2016 – A 30 year old Kaviraj Ravichandran died while in the custody of the Pussellawa Police.

A few days later, Minister of Law and Order stated in parliament that CCTV cameras will be fixed at police stations.

Has the Law and Order Minister’s statement last September on affixing CCTV cameras in holding cells been put into action?

Who should be held accountable for these deaths?

1

Chadik’s Wife, son and daughter

 

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