‘Tor­tured’ colonel bleeds in court

...as de­tained cor­po­ral com­plains of gen­i­tal pain due to ‘se­vere as­sault’ by fel­low sol­diers.

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Tefo Tefo

Colonel Posa Alphoncy Stem­mere on Monday started bleed­ing through the nose in the high Court as he nar­rated his or­deal at the hands of his Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) im­pris­on­ers.

Colonel Stem­mere was brought to court un­der heavy LDF se­cu­rity af­ter be­ing ar­rested by the army on tues­day last week.

how­ever, while still sit­ting in the dock af­ter telling the court about his state of health since the de­ten­tion at Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison, the colonel’s lawyer, Ad­vo­cate tha­bang Let­sie sud­denly stood up and told pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice te­boho Moiloa: “My Lord, Colonel Stem­mere is bleed­ing from the nose”.

Af­ter re­al­is­ing the bleed­ing, the judge or­dered Colonel Stem­mere to be given tis­sue pa­per to wipe the blood, which stopped al­most four min­utes later.

nar­rat­ing his or­deal, Colonel Stem­mere told Jus­tice Moiloa that he had been tor­tured by his cap­tors since his ar­rest and was in pain as a re­sult.

“I feel pain all over the body; from head to toe. My feet and hands are swollen, while my hands are also numb from the as­sault while in de­ten­tion. Some­times urine comes out of my body un­ex­pect­edly, and my feet are so weak I can­not stand for long,” the colonel said, draw­ing gasps from the packed gallery.

Af­ter this state­ment, the judge then al­lowed Colonel Stem­mere to sit down and asked him to con­tinue.

Colonel Stem­mere then told the court that he bruises all over the body from beat­ings by his cap­tors, and now had “end­less headaches” due to the tor­ture.

he also told the judge that he had never seen a doc­tor since his ar­rest, and re­quested that he be al­lowed med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion and treat­ment.

Asked by the judge if he had seen his wife dur­ing the de­ten­tion, Colonel Stem­mere said he had seen her for the first time that day.

Jus­tice Moiloa then or­dered that he be al­lowed to see his doc­tor “with­out the earshot of the re­spon­dents’ of­fi­cers but within the eye­sight of the re­spon­dents’ of­fi­cers.”

the re­spon­dents in­clude the Com­man­der of the Le­sotho De­fence Force, Di­rec­tor of Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence and the Min­is­ter of De­fence.

the judge also said: “the re­spon­dents are re­strained from tor­tur­ing Colonel Stem­mere, and di­rected to per­mit vis­its by Colonel Stem­mere’s close rel­a­tive within work­ing hours. “this should be be­tween 10am and 3pm. “the vis­its should be made within the earshot and eye­sight of the re­spon­dents’ of­fi­cers and each visit should not be for a pe­riod ex­ceed­ing one and a half hours.”

Mean­while, Cor­po­ral Mot­latsi Let­si­lane, who also ap­peared the high Court on Monday, told Jus­tice Moiloa that he felt cold “all over the body”.

the prob­lem, he added, started af­ter his ar­rest and de­ten­tion by LDF mem­bers on 25 May 2015.

“I am not well. My feet are swollen and numb. I also have end­less pain on the right side of my ribs and a run­ning stom­ach,” he said.

Cor­po­ral Let­si­lane told the court he sus­pected the run­ning stom­ach was due to ARV pills he had not taken for four days from the day of his ar­rest.

Asked by the judge if he had told his cap­tors that of his med­i­cal con­di­tion, Cor­po­ral Let­si­lane said he had.

“I told them that I was not well and they took me to Makoanyane (Mil­i­tary) hos­pi­tal. I told the doc­tor that the prob­lem started when I was in de­ten­tion,” he said.

Jus­tice Moiloa then made a rul­ing sim­i­lar to the one he made on Colonel Stem­mere re­gard­ing vis­its by rel­a­tives and get­ting med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

Both Cor­po­ral Let­si­lane and Colonel Stem­mere were ar­rested by their col­league for al­legedly be­ing part of a plot to vi­o­lently re­move the LDF guard.

their court ap­pear­ance was the re­sult of ap­pli­ca­tions by their rel­a­tives who wanted to as­cer­tain their health sta­tus. they both re­main in de­ten­tion at the Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison.

High Court judge Jus­tice Te­boho Moiloa.

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