- Claims Police brutality was directed due to political pressure
Web Journalist Tharindu Uduwaragedara is to file a fundamental rights (FR) petition before the Supreme Court (SC) against the Police and other relevant parties over his arrest by the Police in Borella on 28 July, The Daily Morning learns.
Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (30) Uduwaragedara, who is an executive committee member of the Young Journalists’ Association (YJA), said that he would file an FR petition before the SC against the Police, and other relevant parties that ordered his arrest.
“I was beaten and arrested by the Police when I had done nothing wrong. It was clearly done on the instructions of some political authority, and I will initiate all possible legal action against the Police’s conduct as well as those who directed the Police to do so. We are currently discussing with lawyers in this regard, and mainly an FR petition will be filed soon,” Uduwaragedara said.
He was arrested by the Borella Police on 28 July on the charge of being part of an illegal assembly, and criminal coercion of a Government official.
At the time of the arrest, he was allegedly reporting about a protest staged by several trade unions (TUs) against the agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Video footage recorded by bystanders and other journalists shows a group of Police officers grabbing Uduwaragedara from the three-wheeler and dragging him towards the Police jeep, despite his continuous claims that he was a journalist. The Police officers were also seen pulling him by his hair and beating him on the head.
Following the arrest, Uduwaragedara was taken to the Borella Police Station, where he was detained until 29 July. Following strong criticism from several parties including the main Parliamentary Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and civil organisations about the manner of his arrest, Uduwaragedara was later examined by the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), and admitted to the Accident Ward of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) in Colombo.
He was released on bail by Colombo Magistrate Prasanna Alwis who examined the former at the NHSL on 29 July.