Prison guard assault: Rights activists concerned over no action
By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners raised concerns, regarding the fate of prisoners at a time when incidents such as the alleged assault of a Prison Guard by a Commissioner of Prisons are reported.
It has been reported that on 28 July night, following the escalation of a disagreement between a Prison Guard and Commissioner of Prisons (Operations/Intelligence) (Covering Up Duties) at the Welikada Prison, the Guard had allegedly been assaulted by the Commissioner. The injured Guard, it is reported, had subsequently been hospitalised at the National Hospital, Colombo. He has since been discharged from Hospital. Commissioner General of Prisons, Thushara Upuldeniya had informed on 29 July that an investigation team led by a Commissioner of Prisons had been appointed to inquire into the incident, and it was further reported that a statement in this regard had been recorded from the Prisons Commissioner in question.
Chairman of the Committee, Attorney Senaka Perera questioned as to why the Commissioner of Prisons who is implicated in the incident has not been interdicted until the conclusion of the ongoing probe. He noted the Commissioner who is alleged to have been involved in the assault serving in office while a probe in this regard is ongoing would have a chilling effect on any witness/eyewitness (from among Prison officials or prisoners) testimony cum evidence and silence those likely to come forward into submission.
Commissioner of Prisons (Administration/Rehabilitation and Skill Development) (Covering Up Duties), Chandana Ekanayake when questioned by Ceylon Today as to why the Commissioner in question has not been interdicted pending the conclusion of the probe, said that they were not of the view that an interdiction of the Prisons Commissioner in question was necessary as a statement had been recorded from this Commissioner and the Borella Police, and because this was a minor disagreement, and also because the officer who was hospitalised has since been discharged from Hospital.