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For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya

Nine cops interdicted for assaulting journalist

June 6, 2011/ By Saman Gamage and Chaminda Silva

The Officer-in-Charge of the Mulleriyawa police and eight other policemen have been interdicted following Saturday’s alleged brutal assault on Neth FM journalist Nilupa Sanjaya.

The interdiction letters were served on the nine policemen following a report submitted by the Special Investigations Unit, of the Police Headquarters, following an inquiry into the incident.

Some of the interdicted officers had allegedly chased the victim, to his house, on their motorcycles and brutally assaulted him for riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Sanjaya, who was severely injured, was admitted to the National Hospital and later transferred to a private hospital.

Among the interdicted are an Inspector and a Sub Inspector.

Just last month, journalist Niroshan Premaratne, of the Independent Television Network (ITN), was illegally arrested and severely assaulted by police officers attached to the Panadura Police Station. The incident happened on 8 May 2011. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission statement, Niroshan was driving with his wife and brother-in-law when they were stopped by police officers and taken to the Pandura Police Station. When Niroshan had attempted to inform his senior management regarding the illegal arrest, two police officers began to assault him. Shortly afterwards, he was released and admitted to the Panadura Base Hospital from where he was transferred to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital. He suffered several contusions to his face and one tooth was broken as a result of the assault. The AHRC statement further said: “This case is yet another illustration of the exceptional collapse of the rule of law in the country where persons are tortured and extrajudicially killed in police stations and journalists have become fair game.”

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