Ma­put­soe po­lice sued for bru­tal­ity

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

A HA-MATALA woman is claim­ing M650 000 from Ma­put­soe po­lice for al­legedly bru­tally as­sault­ing and tor­tur­ing her three years ago.

Ac­cord­ing to pa­pers sub­mit­ted be­fore the High Court this week, ’Mabokang Sootho was among a group of em­ploy­ees fired by Matebesi Whole­saler in Septem­ber 2012 soon af­ter M45 000 went miss­ing from the Ma­put­soe-based firm.

Ms Sootho says she was ar­rested on 27 Septem­ber 2012 and se­verely as­saulted and tor­tured as the po­lice tried to make her con­fess to the theft.

“It is on the ba­sis of th­ese as­saults that the plain­tiff brought an ac­tion claim­ing dam­ages as cat­e­gorised…,” the court pa­pers read.

Ms Sootho wants the court to di­rect the po­lice to pay her M150 for med­i­cal ex­penses, M2 800 for loss of in­come, M300 000 for con­tu­melia, M197 050 for pain and suf­fer­ing, M100 000 for loss of ameni­ties and M50 000 for dis­fig­ure­ment.

The Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Ma­put­soe Po­lice Sta­tion, Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral, are cited as first to third de­fen­dants, re­spec­tively, in the law­suit.

The court pa­pers fur­ther read: “It is Ms Sootho’s tes­ti­mony that upon her ar­rival, she found some of her ex-col­leagues also present at the sta­tion. She tes­ti­fies that it was around 9am when she ar­rived at the po­lice sta­tion and was told that she had stolen from her em­ployer.

“She says she de­nied hav­ing stolen the said money but was promised she would be killed while be­ing told to go wait out­side next to a tree. She says she was made to stand there for up to four hours and ev­ery time she tried to sit down, she was re­buked. She says she stood there un­til she was numb and she said her skin had as­sumed a dif­fer­ent colour al­to­gether (pur­plish) as a re­sult of this.

“She says she was only called in­side af­ter the of­fi­cers re­alised it was go­ing to rain. She was beaten with bare hands on her face by one of­fi­cer, and was stran­gled and sub­se­quently a jug of wa­ter was thrown into her face as she showed signs of suf­fo­cat­ing. She says she was also beaten with a stick on the but­tocks with the of­fi­cers tak­ing turns on her. She says she was as­saulted be­cause she re­fused to un­der­take to re­pay the money she did not steal.”

The court pa­pers fur­ther in­di­cate how Ms Sootho was al­legedly re­leased around 4:30pm “hours af­ter be­ing forced to ad­mit that she had stolen from her em­ployer and un­der­tak­ing to pay back the money.

“She fur­ther tes­ti­fied that she could not walk to her house and had to be as­sisted by her ex-col­leagues who hired a cab for her. She later went to see the doc­tor that day,” the court doc­u­ments fur­ther read.

Ms Sootho also sub­mit­ted a doc­tor’s re­port as part of ev­i­dence of in­juries em­a­nat­ing from the al­leged tor­ture.

Mean­while, Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi post­poned the mat­ter to 19 Novem­ber. Ad­vo­cate Matletse Likhoeli rep­re­sents Ms Sootho in the case.

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