Bri­gadier nar­rates de­ten­tion or­deal

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

ANOTHER top of­fi­cer, Bri­gadier Thoso Mareka, was on tues­day brought to the high Court un­der heavy es­cort by mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF).

Bri­gadier Mareka — who is be­ing de­tained at the Maseru Cen­tral Max­i­mum se­cu­rity Prison — was ar­rested by LDF mem­bers on Fri­day last week, but his charge was not re­vealed in court.

On ar­rival at the High Court, the of­fi­cer was guided to court­room Num­ber Five by Cap­tain tefo hashatsi, due to a long­stand­ing eye­sight prob­lem.

Asked by the judge if he was feel­ing well af­ter his de­ten­tion, Bri­gadier Mareka said: “I am not well; my hands and feet are painful.

“I am also feel­ing pain in my chest. Be­sides, I am not well as I have a prob­lem with my eye­sight. I can only see this far, which is about a me­tre.”

Bri­gadier Mareka told the court he “lost” his sight in 2009.

The of­fi­cer then told the court that he was be­ing kept shack­led while in de­ten­tion.

“I am al­ways shack­led and the chains hurt my feet and cause me a lot of pain. I am also hand­cuffed and as a re­sult, my hands are painful.

“As for my chest, I was suf­fo­cated by a tube dur­ing, hence this pain.”

Bri­gadier Mareka also said he was suf­fer­ing from kid­ney fail­ure — a prob­lem he said he had lived with for a long time.

Asked to ex­plain about the spe­cial diet he said he needed, the bri­gadier told the court: “I need spe­cial nutri­tion for the med­i­ca­tion I am tak­ing to work.

“For in­stance, I only drink ap­ple-juice, guava-juice and mango-juice.

“I am al­ler­gic to fish. In fact, I don’t eat seafood at all. I don’t use hot spices on my food ei­ther.

“there are also spe­cial herbs that my wife uses on my food and I can­not elab­o­rate on them be­cause only my wife knows them well.”

Bri­gadier Mareka briefly told the court how he was ar­rested: “I was ar­rested on Fri­day at around 5pm. I was told to re­port at the Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence of­fice and ar­rested upon my ar­rival.”

his vis­i­bly an­gry lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Christo­pher Le­phuthing asked the court to or­der the bri­gadier’s im­me­di­ate re­lease on ac­count of his ill-health.

“I would urge the court to adopt a more le­nient ap­proach on this de­tainee.

“I plead with this honourable court that he be re­leased from de­ten­tion forth­with be­cause of his pe­cu­liar health cir­cum­stances.

“In fact, his ar­rest and de­ten­tion are un­law­ful be­cause they were done ju­nior of­fi­cers.

“he can only be ar­rested by Ma­jor Gen­eral (Li­neo) Poopa, Ma­jor Gen­eral (Khoan­tle) Motšo­motšo or Lieu­tenant Gen­eral tlali Kamoli be­cause they are his su­pe­ri­ors.

“Now he was ar­rested by Cap­tain (tefo) hashatsi and sec­ond Lieu­tenant Phaila, who are very ju­nior to him.

“I pray that he be re­leased forth­with or be placed un­der open ar­rest be­cause the Max­i­mum se­cu­rity Prison is not a con­ducive place for his health,” he said.

how­ever, Ad­vo­cate Mafe­fooane Moshoeshoe said only the Unit Com­man­der could de­cide whether or not to re­lease a de­tainee.

Jus­tice Moiloa then or­dered the two op­pos­ing sides to ar­gue the case on Mon­day next week, and fur­ther or­dered the bri­gadier to be al­lowed to meet his lawyers dur­ing the de­ten­tion.

the judge also said the lawyers’ con­sul­ta­tions should be done “within the eye-view of the re­spon­dents’ of­fi­cers, but with­out the earshot of the re­spon­dents’ of­fi­cers.”

the re­spon­dents in­clude the LDF Com­man­der and the Di­rec­tor of Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence.

the judge also or­dered that Bri­gadier Mareka be al­lowed to see a doc­tor of his choice.

Mean­while, Lance Cor­po­ral Mo­taung Lipholo and Pri­vate Molefi Kapoko were also brought to court by heav­ily armed sol­diers on tues­day.

the two also told Jus­tice Moiloa that they felt pain in their hands, feet and chest as a re­sult of tor­ture by their col­leagues dur­ing their de­ten­tion.

the judge then made a sim­i­lar or­der that they should be al­lowed to see their close rel­a­tives, lawyers and doc­tors but while still in de­ten­tion.

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