More than one detainee had been assaulted with electric wires and rods as a form of “punishment” at the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, which resulted in the death of one detainee and the escape of over 500 inmates last Tuesday (28 June).
According to reliable sources, the assault on the inmate at Kandakadu last week was not an isolated incident, and four to five instructors at the rehabilitation center have been known to punish inmates with wires and rods, despite clear instructions not to ill-treat or assault the detainees.
In connection with the inmate’s death, the Welikanda Police arrested two Army staff sergeants and two Air Force sergeants who were serving as assistant instructors at the facility on Friday (1). They were brought before the Polonnaruwa Magistrate’s Court last Saturday (2), where they were remanded until July 14th.
According to Army Spokesman Brigadier Nilantha Premaratne yesterday, he does not have information on the allegations against military personnel because the Army is only responsible for the security of the rehabilitation center’s perimeter.
“Although the arrested are military personnel, they are officers who are on secondment and hence their duties and responsibilities lie with that particular establishment for that duration, which in this case is the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, who falls under the Ministry of Justice,” he emphasised.
Last Wednesday (29 June), the Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) alleged that the suspicious death of an inmate at the Kandakadu Centre, following which the mass escape of over 500 inmates also occurred, was due to an assault by an Army officer.
CPRP General Secretary Sudesh Nandimal Silva claimed: “The Army oversees the rehabilitation of inmates at Kandakadu. As per the information that we have received so far, an Army officer had assaulted the said inmate, which led to his death.”
He also claimed that according to sources, fellow inmates were provoked by this incident, leading to unrest and the subsequent escape.
Police Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and Attorney-at-Law (AAL) Nihal Thalduwa said that an investigation was being carried out by the Police (under the supervision of the SSP in charge of the Polonnaruwa Division, with further Police teams to be assigned) into the death of the inmate.