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Nov-24-2012 21:53printcomments

SRI LANKA: Saliya Wewa Police Collude With Murderer of Young Girl Who Died of Severe Burn Injuries

Story of cruelty and injustice is one of the worst we have ever heard.

Sri Lanka
Courtesy: Lonely Planet

(SALEM) - This is one of the saddest, most distressing and generally upsetting letters Mr. Gomes has written so far; it is about a girl in Sri Lanka who was robbed of her childhood and life in the cruelest way, literally.

Muddara Pedilage Suneetha Sandamali was 14-years old when she was first kidnapped and raped by a 25-year old civil defence force soldier named Wijesundara Pedige Thusitha Priyaranga.

He didn't stop there.

Under threat of death, she stole at the man's request from her own family. When authorities were notified of his crime against the child, he was neither arrested or relieved of his duties. While he faced charges for her abduction, with a long extended court date, the girl moved in with him and became his so-called 'partner'.

How many child rape victims willingly 'move in' with their attackers who are not under threat and intimidation? At the age of 16, early last December, Muddara suffered terrible burns on her body when she was alone with 'Thusitha'. He said her dress inexplicably burst into flames.

Later before her death from the burns, she told doctors and others at the hospital that he set out to kill her in the cruelest possible manner. Six hours after setting her on fire, he agreed to take her to the hospital, but only if she did not tell them he set her ablaze. has written many reports about crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka and as soon as I prepare this to be published, I am going to write to Rajiva Wijesinha, a well-known Sri Lankan politician and writer, and see if he can help ensure this is being investigated.

Mr. N K Illangakoon
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877

Dear Inspector General of Police,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-194-2012.

Name of the victim: Ms. Muddara Pedilage Suneetha Sandamali (16) of No: 03, Neelabamma Viyaparaya, Saliya Wewa Junction in Anuradhapura District

Alleged perpetrator:

1. Wijesundara Pedige Thusitha Priyaranga (25), a soldier attached to the Civil Defence Force

2. Officers of the Saliya Wewa Police Station Date of incident: 4 December 2011 Place of incident: The victim’s home

I am writing to express my serious concern over the case of Ms. Muddara Pedilage Suneetha Sandamali (16) of No: 03, Neelabamma Viyaparaya, Saliya Wewa Junction in Anuradhapura District. Sandamali succumbed to severe burn injuries at the Puttalam Base Hospital on 13 December 2011. She had been admitted to the hospital by Wijesundara Pedige Thusitha Priyaranga (25), a soldier attached to the Civil Defence Force, and the Saliya Wewa Police Station whom she lived with as a partner. Sandamali was alone with Thusitha at their home at the time of incident which happened at 7 AM on 4 December 2011. She suffered severe burn injuries which led to her death.

On arrival at the hospital Sandamali initially stated that her clothing suddenly and inexplicably burst into flames. However, after some days she revealed to members of her family and friends that Thusitha had intentionally set her on fire and threatened her with death if she revealed to anyone that he had done so. He kept her at home for six hours after the incident before taking her to hospital and did so only after she agreed to follow his instructions. He had concealed the fact that Sandamali had been seriously injured by closing the windows and curtains of their house so that her parents, who lived within sight of their house, would not find out. He made attempts to treat her with pain killers and burn medication but when the pain became too much to bear she pleaded with him to take her to the hospital.

Sandamali’s second statement to the police reveals the deliberate and ruthless intention of Wijesundara Pedige Thusitha Priyaranga to kill her in the cruelest possible manner. During the period between 4 to 13 December, 2011 when she was visited at the hospital by family and friends she revealed to them that Thusitha had set her on fire. Police officers attached to the Saliya Wewa Police Station, to which Thusitha was also attached took the second statement from Sandamali and in a most suspicious manner the officers ordered the mother and sister to leave the ward. The officers then remained with Sandamali for three hours against the doctor’s advice.

Prior to the incident when Sandamali was below 15 years-of-age she was abducted and raped by Thusitha. At that time he was arrested and remanded and a case was filed before the Magistrate of Puttalam under Case No. BR 231/11. However, when he was enlarged on bail he again abducted the under-aged girl and brought her to his home where he continuously abused her physically and mentally. He also forced her to take money from her parents with threats of violence. Following this Sandamali made a written complaint to the Saliya Wewa Police Station. Inexplicably, while Thusitha was on bail and under investigation for rape in the Magistrate’s Court of Puttalam he was still permitted to work in the Civil Defence Force and the Saliya Wewa Police Station. This case was postponed to 19 February, 2013 where he stands accused of statutory rape.

After the death of Ms. Muddara Pedilage Suneetha Sandamali the Saliya Wewa Police Station reported to the Magistrate’s Court of Puttalam under case No. BR/1740/11/P. In that report the police mentioned Thusitha as being responsible for her death. However, when later the police proceeded with the case in the same court they failed to mention this fact. The Honourable Magistrate attended the scene of the crime but by that time Thusitha had cleaned up and removed all the evidence. Despite the fact that it was clearly their duty to do so the police did not record this. When Thusitha made his statement to the police he falsely gave Sandamali’s age as 18. He further stated that at 7:30 AM on the day of the incident Sandamali, who was wearing a long dress, suddenly and inexplicably burst into flames. In the police report they intentionally did not give the actual time when Wijesundara Pedige Thusitha Priyaranga took Sandamali to the hospital six hours after the incident.

No doubt acting on information provided by the Saliya Wewa Police Station the Attorney General instructed the Magistrate of Puttalam to release Thusitha.

I request your urgent intervention to ensure that the Attorney General’s Department reopens the case and conducts a proper investigation. The parents state that they have been denied an investigation and that their daughter has been denied judgement. Action must be taken against the officers of the Saliya Wewa Police Station for their obvious collusion with Thusitha in concealing the facts behind the death of Ms. Muddara Pedilage Suneetha Sandamali.

Yours sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem

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______________________________ Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.




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