File photograph: Chandran Vithusan
Batticaloa Magistrates court ordered a second autopsy last Friday for the Tamil youth "beaten to death" by police.
Tamil lawyer, Sugas Kanagaratnam described Batticaloa Magistrates ruling to exhume the youth’s body as a “historic judgement” and that he "welcomes this".
22-year old, Chandran Vithusan, was tied to a tree and assaulted in front of his family members by Sri Lankan police officers, before being taken into custody by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on June 3rd. He was pronounced dead the following morning.
The initial autopsy led by the Special Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) cited a drug overdose as the cause of death, but Vithusan’s family raised suspicions, insisting his death was a result of police brutality.
“These people are lying. Justice should be rendered to my elder brother. I will not stop until then. I saw my brother being beaten to death,” said the younger sister of the victim, Caroline Chandran. “He was lifted and smashed on the floor and on the wall. Even the wall has cracked. Do they have that much power?”
The ruling on Friday ruled that “the body should be exhumed and a second autopsy should be conducted under a forensic expert”.
— JDS (@JDSLanka) June 20, 2021
This is the 11th recorded death in police custody in the past year. The Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission reported nine deaths just between the period of May and October 2020 alone.