Information received on a disclosure made upon a group of inmates who happened to abandon duty or be at breach of rules and regulations of Sri Lankan Navy due to various circumstances and kept in Welisara Gemunu Navy Camp with no ‘basic facilities’ provided. Among them were also inmates who were sent in with periods of common pardon and vulnerable groups who were unable of paying fines.
According to the reports, these inmates were longed to stay there provided with one short to wear per each, with no clothe to cover the top. They are being forced to sleep on the cement floor of the prison complex, with no mattress or blanket, being pushed to exist in the ‘lowest way of living’ possible.
Lieutenant Commander Isuru Suriyabandara, Media Spokesman of Sri Lanka Navy, did not refuse the claims when was questioned about the information received.
“This is a ‘Navy character refinement’, individuals who were arrested in breach of Sri Lanka Navy Act on various scales are being kept here,” said by Lieutenant Commander Isuru Suriyabandara.
“Inmates are being apprehended in keeping with the gazette announcement of Sri Lanka Navy Act issued in January 08, 1994, and the rules and regulations of the Sri Lanka Navy.”
The Navy Spokesman added that the Sri Lanka Navy is responsible for the safety of the inmates and they were detained as they have past experiences of inmates committing suicide.
An unacceptable statement
“It is unacceptable that the basic facilities are not being provided under the presumption that an inmate is likely to commit suicide,” said in response to the statement made by the Navy by Attorney Achala Seneviratne.
“No books in law mention as to how many pants or other facilities need to be supplied with. Nevertheless, there is no need of a regulation to provide the basic facilities to an inmate.”
The attorney stated that the procedure in the camp is being followed by rather an inhuman agenda violating the fundamental rights of the inmates while being assaulted and can never be justified.
“The Constitutional Law is above the military law or any other law. Everyone shall respect it,” she strongly emphasized.
Each inmate is entitled to a fine to the Sri Lanka Navy, which has no concern for the mental health of the detained except the payment, revealed by one of the inmates who was set free after paying the full amount of the fine.
“All they want is money. This is terribly wrong. At least they could’ve introduced a system to make these payments so people can live,” said by he who admitted that he left amid a Navy engineering course and pleaded not to reveal his name.
However, Lieutenant Commander Isuru Suriyabandara said in response that there are around 70 detainees kept in before various reasons, and among them are ones scheduled for paying the fines and ones being punished for other offenses. He emphasized that all of whom have been kept are being treated in keeping with the Navy regulations.
One day per week - 10 minutes per each
One has been provided with the opportunity to contact their family or other over phone only once a week, and as a result was further delayed to be set free, told by one of the inmates who was set free from the centre.
“They allow us to talk to families one day per week, Saturday, for 10 minutes.”
He added that the mobiles are taken from them after the 10 minutes and are kept in a safe, which will be given back to them on the following Saturday.
Responding, the Navy Spokesman said that the inmates are being privileged to meet with their relatives on Sunday from 8 am to 12 pm, and on Saturday are allowed to contact over phone.
“Lately, they have been privileged to contact over phone in case of an emergency on other days as well.”
No proper medication for the sickened
Nevertheless, it is reported that no rehabilitation is being taken place in the refinement, while some of them are diabetes patients who happen to spend a very difficult time with the wounds in their bodies.
“It is inappropriate to treat humans like this because they need to earn money.”
Attorney Achala Seneviratne emphasized that every institute is under the jurisdiction of the Fundamental Constitutional Law of Sri Lanka, of which all other laws are under it, and is entitled to protect fundamental rights of human beings and is not in the capacity to reach beyond.
Responding to the allegations that the sickened are not being treated with medication she questioned back, “An inmate amid imprisonment is entitled to a punishment. Do they have to pay for how they were treated during refinement after the period of punishment as well?”
Attorney Achala Seneviratne further pointed out that there are other entities in Sri Lanka that accept grievances of family members of the victims and can be accessed in receiving a relief.