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Sri Lanka police spokesman removed from brutality case

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was Friday removed from the proceedings of the inquest into the death of a man allegedly killed by the Embilipitiya police.

Gunasekera is accused of trying to block reporters from covering inquest proceedings into the death of Prasanna Jayawardena, 29, who died after police smashed a party in Embilipitiya on January 4.

Gunasekera was not immediately available for comment, but his office denied he was involved and said he had voluntarily stepped down from cross examining witnesses at the inquest.

However, official sources said an avalanche of protests from the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, Young Journalists Association , provincial correspondents and lawyers forced Gunasekera, who is also a lawyer, to step down

The Editors’ Guild said that a police constable identified as PC 43120 had grabbed the notes of court reporters during  inquest proceedings on Wednesday. The constable has said he did that on the orders of the acting magistrate, but local reporters say it was an attempt to prevent them from reporting evidence of police.

Gunasekera had been sent there by the IGP himself to protect the interests of the police, in this case the accused party.

Police initially denied killing Jayawardena, but his widow has made three statements accusing a police ASP of pushing her husband to his death from the third floor of a building.

An internal police investigation has also revealed an attempt to cover up the killing with police making false entries, supressing evidence and outright deceit to mislead the judicial authorities.

Residents accuse Inspector General N. K. Illangakoon of a cover up even though the minister in charge of police Sagala Ratnayake has promised an independent investigation.

A confidential report showed that it was the police themselves who made calls to the police emergency number 119 to implicate the victim and his friends of causing a nuisance by blasting a music system.

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Embilipitiya police fabricated a story that two of their men had been assaulted by party goers, but telephone records showed that at the time they were supposed to be under attack  they were actually making telephone calls.

Residents had said that the troubles started after they refused to give alcohol to four policemen.(COLOMBO, Jan 15, 2016)

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