Death of a Muslim Man in Custody to be Investigated by Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission

Death of a Muslim Man in Custody to be Investigated by Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission
Source: Tamil Guardian

Sarah Thanawala,

Sri Lanka team.

On October 5, 2021, the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission decided to investigate the custodial death of Shamsudin Mohammad Ramzan (Tamil Guardian, 2021a). The complaint was filed under Section 14 of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No.21 of 1996 (Tamil Guardian, 2021a). On October 1, Ramazan and one another individual were searched and arrested on the suspicion of possession of drugs (Tamil Guardian, 2021b). The following day, on October 2, Ramzan died in Mannar District General Hospital after being held in police custody for the night (Tamil Guardian, 2021b). Disturbingly, on June 3, 2021, a Tamil youth suffered violent death whilst in police custody (Tamil Guardian, 2021c). Thus, the current investigation by the Commission is especially important in the light of increasing police violence, as well as the discriminatory and arbitrary legislation on drug control (Satkunanathan, 2021). This calls for the Commission to hold an unbiased investigation, and for the international community, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, to pressurize the Rajapaksa government for necessary actions to prevent such abuses.



Tamil Guardian (2021a, October 5). Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission to investigate death of man in custody.


Tamil Guardian (2021b, October 2). Muslim man dies following police custody in Mannar.


Tamil Guardian (2021c, June 3). Tamil youth beaten to death by Sri Lankan Intelligence officials.


Ambika Satkunanathan (2021). A Broken System: Drug Control, Dentention and Treatment of People Who Use Drugs in Sri Lanka. Harm Reduction International.