Sol­dier in de­ten­tion by choice: Mokhosi

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

De­fence Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi says mutiny sus­pect, Lancecor­po­ral Toma ne­hemia Jobo, re­mains in Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison “by choice”.

The court of Ap­peal on 6 novem­ber 2015 or­dered the sol­dier’s im­me­di­ate re­lease and de­clared his con­tin­ued de­ten­tion il­le­gal.

How­ever, he re­mains in prison along­side 21 other LDF mem­bers ar­rested be­tween May and June this year for al­legedly plot­ting to over­throw the mil­i­tary com­mand. The sol­diers are cur­rently ap­pear­ing be­fore a court Mar­tial but the Ap­peal court ruled Lance-corp Jobo should at­tend the hear­ing from home.

Last week, Lance-corp Jobo’s lawyer, At­tor­ney Khotso nthon­tho, told the Le­sotho Times he did not know why his client was still in prison de­spite the court or­der which in­di­cated he should be placed un­der open ar­rest.

But Min­is­ter Mokhosi yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times Lancecorp Jobo had re­fused to leave the prison be­cause he was not happy with the con­di­tions of his open ar­rest. Ac­cord­ing to the terms of his open ar­rest, Lance-corp Jobo was to be al­lowed to go about his nor­mal daily busi­ness, but would not leave the coun­try. The of­fi­cer was also sup­posed to sur­ren­der his pass­port to the LDF and re­port to Ha Ratjo­mose bar­racks ev­ery morn­ing. He was also ex­pected to re­port to the mil­i­tary each time he left his house.

Min­is­ter Mokhosi also ac­cused At­tor­ney nthon­tho of not “be­ing there” for his client, lead­ing to Lance-corp Jobo’s de­ci­sion not to leave prison.

As “proof” of At­tor­ney nthon­tho’s al­leged fail­ure to rep­re­sent his client, the min­is­ter showed the Le­sotho Times a let­ter he said was writ­ten by Lance-corp Jobo re­ject­ing the court or­der.

The let­ter, dated 10 novem­ber 2015, reads: “I, Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo, hav­ing been given a re­lease from the court of Ap­peal of Le­sotho as told by LDF of­fi­cers, and fur­ther asked that I should sur­ren­der my travel doc­u­ments and my per­sonal weapon to MP (mil­i­tary po­lice), I ask that I be given an op­por­tu­nity to de­liver the same to my le­gal ad­vi­sor (lawyer) be­fore my re­lease is ef­fected…the rea­son be­ing that I don’t have the con­tents of that court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion as is be­ing said by the LDF of­fi­cers.

“So I need my lawyer to have con­sent in this re­gard be­fore my re­lease from Maseru Max­i­mum In­sti­tu­tion so that he can ex­plain the con­tents of that court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion.”

Ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter Mokhosi, the LDF was pre­pared to re­lease Lance-corp Jobo but only un­der con­di­tions of his open ar­rest.

“The bot­tom line is the army did not defy the court of Ap­peal rul­ing,” the min­is­ter said. “The court or­der was clear that Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo should be placed un­der open ar­rest. This means he was sup­posed to sur­ren­der his pass­port and per­sonal firearm to the Mil­i­tary Po­lice, re­port him­self to the Ha Ratjo­mose MP of­fice ev­ery morn­ing to show that he had not fled the coun­try and re­port to the Provost Mar­tial (of­fi­cer in charge of the Mil­i­tary Po­lice) ev­ery time he leaves his house.

“How­ever, he told the of­fi­cers who pre­sented the judge­ment to him that he was not com­fort­able and did not trust its de­tails. He said he wanted to con­sult his le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive first, but the lawyer was not there.

“He then en de­cided to stay in Maseru Max­i­mum xi­mum Se­cu­rity Prison while he con­sults his lawyer.

“LDF au­thor­i­ties asked Lancecor­po­ral Jobo to write his de­ci­sion downn so that it can be proven that he stayed tayed in prison of his own ac­cord.”

Mr Mokhosi okhosi in­sisted the LDF could not re­lease Lance-corp Jobo “just like e that” for fear he would flee the coun­try. oun­try.

Ac­cord­ing ing to Mr Mokhosi, Lance-cor­porp Jobo’s stay in prison had be­comeome “a huge chal­lenge” and the army was con­sult­ing its lawyers on the is­sue.

The Min­is­ter in­is­ter added: “Since the court or­der er was is­sued, his lawyer has been un­avail­able and he has done noth­ing hing to make sure Lancecor­po­ral Jobo is re­leased.

“Lance-cor­po­ral -cor­po­ral Jobo was even of­fered a phone to call him, but he could not reach him. It is shock­ing that nthon­tho hon­tho told the Le­sotho Times last st week that he was sur­prised d and doesn’t know why the army de­fied the court of Ap­peal or­der.

“This man is not only rep­re­sen­tep­re­sent­ing Lance-corp ce-corp Jobo but even the other er sol­dierss who are still in de­ten­tion. He vis­its the other sol­diers but not Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo.”

con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, At­tor­ney nthon­tho said: “It is non­sen­si­cal for Ntate Mokhosi to say I have not done any­thing about Lance- cor­po­ral Jobo’s re­lease.

“Let me tell you, I am not even aware of the let­ter that is al­leged to have been writ­ten by my client.

“The army did not re­lease my client and I don’t un­der­stand what I was ex­pected to do af­ter that be­cause they sim­ply don’t com­ply with or­ders of the law. I am not the one who ar­rested Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo and my vis­its could not re­lease him if the army refuse to do so.

“Then again, it must be clear that Lance-cor­po­ral Jobo is not above the law and it is not his choice whether he stays in prison or not. It doesn’t make sense for Mr Mokhosi to sug­gest that it was Jobo’s de­ci­sion to stay in prison de­spite the rul­ing of a court of law.”

“There is nowhere in this world where a pris­oner can de­cide to stay in prison when there is a court or­der say­ing oth­er­wise. And for the record, I have been vis­it­ing Jobo at Maseru Max­i­mum Prison; I was even there yes­ter­day.”

De­fence Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi

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