The aggrieved journalist has revealed in court an attempt by the Sri Lanka Police to cover up the torture that took place during his arrest.
Freelance photographer and political activist Malika Abeykoon told the court that after being subjected to inhumane torture overnight, police had fabricated medical evidence when she was produced in court.
Malika Abeykoon was arrested by police on Wednesday, April 7, while reporting on a protest by health workers in the capital.
The arrest of the freelance journalist was also condemned internationally, and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a media rights group, called for his immediate release.
Several activists also protested in front of the Maradana police station demanding the immediate release of Malika Abeykoon.
The Free Media Movement had issued a statement urging the IGP to “conduct a formal and impartial investigation into the incident and enforce the law against the responsible officials”.
When the tortured journalist was produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate on Thursday, April 08, the police had submitted a medical report signed by a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) stating that he had no injuries.
The aggrieved journalist shouted that the JMO had given a fake report and removed his shirt so that the judge could see the wounds and scars caused by the assault on him at the Maradana police station the night before.
He had informed the magistrate that he could not even sit down due to the police assault.
He was not given any medical treatment while in custody.
The judge ordered the tortured journalist to be further remanded and a new medical report from the prison hospital, after which Abeykoon fell unconscious in court.
Members of the Health Workers’ Union who participated in the trial immediately gave first aid to the journalist and he was later hospitalized.
He is scheduled to appear before a judge again on Monday, April 12.
13 tortures in police stations
Protesting in the capital on the same day that Malika Abeykoon was brought to court after being attacked by police, the Prisoners’ Rights Protection Committee said that STF soldiers continued to torture prisoners at Bussa Prison.
The Sri Lankan Coalition Against Torture recently announced that it had received thirteen complaints of police torture in several southern provinces in the first two months of this year alone.
The Sri Lankan Coalition Against Torture emphasizes to the Government that the right to abstain from torture is not only a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution, but also that torture is an offense punishable under criminal law under Act No. 22 of 1994.
Pitigala Police in Galle District, Hakmana Police in Matara District, Walasmulla and Tangalle Police in Hambantota District, Pothuhera and Wellawa Police in Kurunegala District, Aluthgama, Kosgoda and Payagala Police in Kalutara District and Aralaganwila Police Station in Polonnaruwa District. Three incidents of torture have been reported to the Sri Lankan Coalition Against Torture