Four policemen including a sub-inspector of the Vaddukoddai police station have been arrested in Jaffna after the local Magistrate’s order in the murder of a Tamil youth.
Jaffna Magistrate A.A.Anandharajah ruled in his interim order the death in custody of Nagarasa Alex (26) “was not natural but murder” when the case was heard on Friday (22) .
Heavy police deployment could be seen at the Jaffna Magistrate Court as the case was being heard.
Nagarasa Alex and Suthakaran Thuvarakan (20) were arrested by the Vaddukoddai police on suspected burglary charges. While Alex was murdered in custody Suthakaran Thuvakaran is now on bail.
The Magistrate, while ruling the death as “murder”, instructed the registrar of the court to send the order copy to the Deputy Inspector General of Police-Northern Province to arrest them. Earlier three policemen were identified by Thuvakaran while the physical identities of two more were provided by him. Based on this the Magistrate ordered an identification parade.
Local reporters present in the court say the Magistrate took a short break after hearing his testimony and then returned to hear further.
Apart from Suthakaran Thuvakaran, Dr. Sellathurai Paramasivam (74) a local senior ayurvedic doctor, two prison officials and Dr. Uruthirapasupathi Mayorathan, consultant forensic pathologist, Teaching Hospital-Jaffna testified in the court during the hearing.
Earlier in his report on the cause of death on November 20, Dr Mayorathan, who is the judicial medical officer (JMO) had stated: “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”.
Nagarasa Alex was arrested on November 08 by the Sri Lanka Police in Vaddukoddai and remanded by the Mallavi magistrate court two days later. However, a police report says the duo was arrested on November 11.
Parents of Nagarasa Alex say their son was produced in the court only after four days of arrest and kept in custody.
Family members of the deceased had earlier complained the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) did not take action in the proper way. His mother complained to the HRCSL office in Jaffna on November 10 about her son being arrested and taken away for inquiry.
Four days after their arrest, Nagarasa Alex and Suthakaran Thuvarakan were produced before the Mallakam magistrate court that ordered them to be held under detention.
In a video recorded while in hospital, the deceased Alex spoke of the torture at the hands of the Vaddukoddai 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”.
He was found dead when brought to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital on Sunday (19)
Senior Attorney Nallathamby Srikantha, a former MP from Jaffna district, represented the deceased and his family in the court.
Speaking to media persons outside the court complex after the hearing for the day he said the testimony of the Dr.Mayorathan was very vital in the outcome of the case. “Dr. Mayorathan apart from explaining the injuries said the kidney of the deceased was affected due to injuries and that was the primary reason for his kidney being damaged”.
Srikantha further added that the DIG of the Northern Province assured the court he would take necessary action to ensure that the policemen ordered to be arrested and those to be identified through an identification parade do not leave the country if the court ordered a travel ban against them.
The murder in custody came up for hearing in the Jaffna Magistrate court in a case originally filed by the police against the two accused in a burglary case.
More than 40 Tamil lawyers were present in the court during the hearing.
The next hearing of the case will be on December 10.