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The Police Torture Epidemic in Sri Lanka -- a documentary

SRI LANKA: The Police Torture Epidemic in Sri Lanka -- a documentary

(Hong Kong, May 10, 2012) The Asian Human Rights Commission wishes to announce the release of a new documentary entitled: The police torture epidemic in Sri Lanka.

Directed filed and edited by Josefina Bergsten; translated by Harshi Perera and Nilantha Illangamuwa; sound editing by Mark Chappell of Fork Media. The film was produced by Pictures by the Wayside and sponsored by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong and the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture (RCT Denmark) -- length 21 minutes.

In this film several victims talk about their experience of torture by the Sri Lankan police and the continuing ordeals they suffer, psychologically and socially due to this torture. All of them state that their arrests were baseless and that after their arrest the police tortured them even before asking any questions at all. Torture has been used as a means of trying to collect evidence in cases which the police have failed to investigate and solve.

A senior lawyer, Janatha Perera, describes torture as a routinely used method by the police whose sole approach investigations into crime is to illicit information by beating people up. Torture is the language of investigation in Sri Lanka.

A retired Superintendant of Police describes the loss of discipline within the policing system and the popular disillusionment with the police. He describes how the peoples' distrust of the policing system is so widespread.

Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission explains torture as a product of a policing system that is sick and calls for radical reforms of the system.

The cases on which this documentary is based have been from the archives of the Asian Human Rights Commission which has extensively researched and published on police torture in Sri Lanka for the past 15 years.

The documentary may be seen here: SRI LANKA: The Police Torture Epidemic in Sri Lanka

For detailed reports on torture also see SRI LANKA: Cases of torture and ill treatment recorded from 2006-2010 and the Special Compilation: Torture & Ill-treatment in Sri Lanka

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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