“Mr. Upuldeniya, You Are Responsible For The Safety Of Shani Abeysekera”: Human Rights Commission Sends Strong Letter To Prisons Commissioner

November 27, 2020

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka sent a strongly worded letter to Prisons Department Commissioner General Thushara Upuldeniya holding him responsible for the safety of former CID Director Shani Abeysekera who is infected with COVID19.

Abeysekera, a remand prisoner, contracted COVID19, while in Mahara prison and he was later transferred to a treatment centre for prisoners at Gallella, despite the former CID Director’s multiple health issues.

“Mr. Upuldeniya, as you are aware, the health and security of all prisoners including remandees, remain the responsibility of the Commissioner General of Prisons. Given the concerns already conveyed to you regarding security issues, we ask you to take immediate steps secure Mr Abeysereka and ensure the best possible treatment. It may be best to transfer Mr Abeyskera to the Welikanda Treatment Hospital. Further, his family has informed us that they have no information regarding Mr Abeysekera’s health situation or his whereabouts,” the Human Rights Commission said. “We urge you to immediately keep families of all prisoners infected by the COVID-19 virus informed of his whereabouts and provide them with the results of their PCR Test,” the letter also added.

“We are also receiving many complaints from family members desperate for information regarding their loved ones in custody. Therefore, we suggest that you provide us with an updated list of all prisoners affected by the virus and their current location and treatment. We would welcome the appointment of a contact person in each treatment in case further information is required by family members,” the letter signed off by Ramani Muttetuwegma, the Commissioner in charge of investigations and inquiries said.

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