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Call to probe latest death in police custody in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – A citizens’ rights group has called for a probe on the latest death of a suspect in policy custody in Sri Lanka, who is said to have jumped out of a police jeep and drowned in a lake.

"This explanation of the Police is suspicious due to several improbabilities and this explanation resembles the explanation given by the police in respect of several deaths of suspects while in police custody during the last three years," Lawyers for Democracy, a citizens rights group said in a statement.

During the last regime police said suspects had died after arrest by drowning or in shootouts after leading them to arms caches and similar explanations.

"It is regrettable that the police [have] not appreciated the verdict of the people at the Presidential Election, where the people rejected human right violations committed during the previous regime," the lawyers said."

Lawyers for Democracy asked the police for a high level inquiry into the death and ensure that actions that took place during the last regime do not continue under the new regime.

In free countries police are now probed by an ‘internal affairs’ unit when excessive force is used against citizens or they die in police custody.

Several suspects involved in organized crime (known as the underword in Sri Lanka) have also died in shootouts.