Nine Muslim prisoners who were transferred from Batticaloa to Badulla prison in 2019, have been brutally assaulted inside the premises of the prison earlier this month, leaving many requiring hospitalisation.
Attacked by fellow prisoners, one Musim prisoner had his jaw broken and another suffered a heavy blow on his head which required at least 13 stitches. Seven other inmates also have been gravely injured as a result of the attack.
Families of these prisoners telephoned the prison and made a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in Batticaloa, in a desperate attempt to assist the men. "They are not even willing to reveal who carried out these and are in terrible fear and traumatised," said a letter penned by their relatives.
However, the Sri Lankan prison authorities denied that such an attack had taken place, a stance reiterated by the Human Rights Commission. The families visited the Badulla prison last Wednesday in order to confirm the claim of the authorities, but found their relatives severely injured.
Following this visit, the families went to the Human Rights Commission office in Batticaloa where officials told them that they only passed on the information they were given by the branch in Badulla.
The families then filed a written complaint with the Human Rights Commissioner demanding that the cases against their relatives be expedited and those found not guilty be released.
They also requested in their complaint that the attacked prisoners be transferred to a different prison and that legal action be taken against fellow prisoners who perpetrated the “terrorising and life-threatening attacks” against them.
The Muslim prisoners who were attacked all come from Kattankudy, a town in Batticaloa. They were arrested in 2019 following the Easter Sunday bombings in the island. Those who were arrested on suspicions of involvement in the bombings have been detained for over 30 months. One of them died last year and three others are stricken with cancer.
"We humbly appeal to you to take steps to expedite the case against these prisoners and release those found innocent, until then to transfer these prisoners to another prison, to ensure their safety and to take legal action against the other prisoners who carried out these terrorising and life-threatening attacks," said the relatives in their plea to the Human Rights Commission.
Read the full complaint of the families in English here.