The alleged brutality meted out to prisoners of the Sri Lankan state is shown by the ordeal of Nimalaruban Ganeshan. After being locked up under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, supposedly for possessing a hand grenade, his mother says the 28-year-old was beaten to death in his cell.
“He was a strong boy and because he was my only son, I loved him beyond words,” said his mother, Rajeshwari, 64.
The assaults on Mr Ganeshan began within days of his arrest in October 2009. When his mother visited him less than a week after he was consigned to a police cell, she found him beaten and bruised.
When he was transferred to prison, she would discover that his condition had worsened at every visit. “He would vomit every time and he would cry to just stay on my lap,” said Mrs Ganeshan.
In 2011, her son caught dengue fever and was grudgingly transferred to hospital. But he spent two days lying on the floor of the ward, still in shackles, before being given a bed. Eventually, Mr Ganeshan was beaten to death during a riot in Vavuniya prison in July 2012.
Police summoned his mother, but apparently maintained that her son was still alive. She was eventually shown his body and asked to sign a form in the Sinhalese language – which she does not understand – exonerating the police of any responsibility.
“I screamed at the police ‘you’ve been lying to me all this time, you’re a coward’,” remembered Mrs Ganeshan. “I said ‘you murdered him and now you want me to sign these papers’.”
She sued the state for violating her son’s rights. Last Monday, however, the Supreme Court under a new chief justice chosen by President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed the case. (The Telegraph)