Police torture suspected in death of Tamil youth in custody

Multiple injuries had been found on the body of a Tamil youth from the war-affected north of Sri Lanka who died in custody.

His family believes that timely intervention by the country’s human rights commission would have helped save his life from police torture.

Nagarasa Alex was arrested on the 8th November by Police in Vaddukoddai and remanded by the Mallakkam magistrate court two days later.

He was found dead when brought to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital on Sunday (19).

“There were multiple injuries (abrasions and contusions) noted in the back of the trunk, both upper limbs and both lower limbs. These were no natural diseases directly or indirectly contributing to this death,” Dr. Uruthirapasupathy Mayorathan, Consultant Forensic Pathologist, Jaffna Teaching Hospital wrote in his report.

Dr. Mayorathan who is also the Judicial Medical Officer of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital says the case is “under investigation”.

The postmortem examination was ordered by Jaffna Magistrate A.A Anandarajah.

26 years old Alex was arrested by the police on burglary charges.

Family members of the deceased complain the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) did not take action in the proper way. His mother had complained to the HRCSL office in Jaffna on the 10th about her son being arrested and taken away for inquiry.

Nagarasa Alex was produced before the Mallakam magistrate court which ordered the suspect to be held under detention.

In a video posted by Tamil activists on social media, the deceased Nagarasa Alex purportedly speaks about the torture including waterboarding and severe assault by the police.

“Police arrested me on suspicion and beat me severely. My hands were tied behind and my face was covered and beat me repeatedly pouring water repeatedly. I was hanged upside down and beaten. Then they covered my face with a petrol choked plastic bag and beat me. I fell unconscious. Now I can’t lift both my hands. I was not given food on the first day. Next day they took me to their room and said not to file any case with the HRCSL. Then they gave me one packet of arrack to drink”.

Two persons including Nagarasa Alex were arrested in connection with a burglary in Vaddukoddai recently. Family members of the deceased told local journalists they were very much worried from the time he was arrested.