PTA suspect raped and tortured -JMO

[TamilNet, Monday, 23 September 2002, 20:35 GMT]
The medical report to the Eastern High Court in a Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) case revealed that twelve police personnel had raped Sathasivam Rathykala, aged 28, at night at the Polonaruwa police station on 24.11.2000. The report was submitted by the Batticaloa Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) to the Eastern High Court on September 18. The JMO in his report has recommended that counselling and rehabilitation should be provided to the suspect in consultation with a psychiatrist as the victim has suffered acute mental trauma.

Sathasivam Rathykala is still in Batticaloa prison and the inquiry has been postponed for a later date by the eastern High Court.

Ms Rathykala was arrested under PTA by four police officers from the Medigiriya police station on 24.11.2000 around 12 noon at the Polonaruwa general hospital where she was an attendant. The police suspected that she was a member of the LTTE.

She was later detained at Anuradhapura and Welikada prisons. Finally she was transferred to Batticaloa prison on 23.07.2002. At the time of arrest she lived with her parents at No 23, Shory Street Mannampitiya in the Batticaloa district.

The Eastern High Court ordered the JMO to examine the suspect woman and submit report when the defense pointed out that the suspect was subjected to severe torture by the Police while in custody.

"The suspect Ms Rathykala was produced before me for Medico-Legal examination around 3 p.m. on 30.8.2002 in the JMO's office acting on the order of the Eastern High Court Judge. Her father is a farmer and she is the eldest child. She joined as a hospital attendant in the Polonaruwa general hospital on 24.08.2000," said the medical report signed by the JMO, Batticaloa district, Dr.S.Chandrapalan.

The medico-legal report of the JMO, Batticaloa district further states: -

History given by the suspect:

She was arrested by four male police officers from the Medigiriya police station on 24.11.2000 around 12 noon when she was on duty. She was then taken to CID office in Polonaruwa in a police jeep. While in jeep she was scolded by policemen in filth and was threatened that she would be killed. One policeman stamped on her right foot forcefully with shod foot.

At about 12.30 p.m. she was handed over to the Polonaruwa CID office. There she was detained for two days. Thereafter she was produced before a doctor in Polonaruwa hospital. At that time they did not assault her. Later she was detained in the hallway till about midnight and was interrogated whether she was a member of the LTTE.

She was accused of being involved in the attack of military camps in the past and was ordered to show rest of the LTTE members in her area. They also told her that she printed some names of the LTTE members in her body. She denied all these accusations.

Thereafter the Police officials ordered her to take off all the clothes except her panty and bra. She begged them not to force her to remove her clothes. Subsequently she was subjected to body search by police officials touching her whole body including her genital area and breast. She was not given lunch. Police officers from Medigiriya Police arrived and with CID officials started interrogating her. She was given a gun to operate. Around midnight the Police detained her in a cell alone. She asked the police to provide a matron for her security. But the police refused to do so. She asked the Police to inform her parents about her arrest. The Police did not accede to that request. Later she was threatened and assaulted by the police inside the cell. She then fainted. When she regained consciousness she found herself lying on the bed in another room.

The police officers forced her to remove her bra and panty. She begged and pleaded with them not to harm her. The police officials then threatened her that she would be killed and her body would be disposed after cutting her neck. Subsequently one by one twelve police officers had sexual intercourse with her until next morning 5 'clock. As a result she had many scratch marks on her breasts. She also had severe abdominal pain. She was given two tablets to swallow which she identified as contraceptive pills.

The next day morning she was taken to her village in a police jeep and was asked her to show the members of the LTTE. She was blindfolded and the arms tied on the back. She denied having contacts with the LTTE. She was then handed over to the Kaduruwela Police on 26.11.2000. There she was detained for about a month. For the first ten days she was not allowed to take bath. Police officials there did not assault her but continuously questioned her.

She was taken to Magistrate on 29.11.2000.She was later handed over to the Anuradhapura prison and remanded there for about a month. She was then transferred to Welikada prison on 3.2.2002. Finally she was transferred to Batticaloa prison on 23.07.2002 and up to now she is detained at Batticaloa prison."

The suspect Ms Rathykala was referred and examined by Psychiatrist Dr.M.Ganeshan on 11.9.2002 in the psychiatric unit in the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital.

Dr.Ganeshan has reported that she has sleep-disturbances with nightmares. She has depression with suicidal ideation. Her appetite is poor. She has intrusive memories and avoidance stimuli, which bring back memories of torture. Finally Dr.Ganeshan concluded that she is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He recommended counseling and treatment.

The Batticaloa JMO Dr.Chandrapalan in his report said:

"She appeared depressed and has intrusive thoughts. In addition she has suicidal ideation. She has revealed in her history the manner she was tortured and sexually assaulted by the Police officers in the CID office while under their custody.

"There is medical evidence of scars resulting from physical abuse. There is medical evidence of forced physical intercourse. She is suffering from mental trauma. Interrogation and bodily examination on her were performed throughout by male policemen. She was not provided a matron while she was in the police custody.

"In my opinion, the age of the scars as described are could be more than six months from the time of infliction, which is consistent with the history given by the suspect. Some scars are consistent with injuries caused by the live cigarette butts. Scars on the breasts are consistent with nail scratches from violent handling of the breast during sexual assault. Some of the scars in the breast are consistent with the injuries resulted from lighted cigarettes. Penile penetration by the erect adult penis was possible as it is consistent with the history of sexual assault given by her. It was possible that she was unclothed before the perpetrators sexually, physically assaulted her. Since she has mental trauma and has a suicidal ideation the counselling and rehabilitation are necessary with the consultation of psychiatrist, and for the treatment too. Her menstrual regularizes and lower abdominal pain could be due to the chronic stress that resulted from cumulative effects of the torture she underwent," said JMO Dr.Chandrapalan in his medico-legal report to the High Court.

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