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Former Sri Lankan army chief acknowledges police use of torture

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka admitted that Sri Lankan policemen and Special Task Force troops have carried out torture and demanded ransoms, as he criticised plans to involve the military in drug enforcement activities.  

"They throw chili powder on the face of suspects, cover their heads with plastic bags and assault them”, said the former head of the Sri Lankan army, who is a minister in the current government. “This is unhuman. These are the tactics used by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa when he was in power.”

"We know sometimes policemen have also been killed in encounters with drug dealers. Sometimes these officers may also be involved in drug dealing," he added. "Sometimes they arrest people and have them remanded to extort money from them."
He said officers in Sri Lanka’s police force as well as the notorious Special Task Force were responsible for such crimes.

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Earlier this year, Al Jazeera reported that Sri Lankan security forces have continued to use torture against Tamils on the island, after uncovering more allegations and evidence of torture.

Despite pledges to cut down on the practice, the Sri Lankan government failed to respond to a United Nation Committee Against Torture (CAT) report, which called for information on the “establishment of a judicial mechanism” to investigate torture and information on the role of a former Criminal Investigations Department head earlier this year.