Man nar­rates ‘po­lice tor­ture or­deal’

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

FIFTY-THREE year old, Mokoto Lentsoe on Tues­day gave a har­row­ing ac­count of his or­deal at the hands of mem­bers of the po­lice’s Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Unit (SOU) who al­legedly as­saulted him and 14 oth­ers at a pub­lic bar in Mafeteng 2011.

Mr Lentsoe was tes­ti­fy­ing in the High Court in a case in which he and 14 other Mafeteng res­i­dents are seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion for dam­ages from the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa rang­ing from M200 000 to M350 000 each for the al­leged as­sault.

Mr Lentsoe told the court that the SOU barged into Lekoant­lane Pub­lic Bar in Mafeteng be­tween 8 and 9pm on 18 Fe­bru­ary 2011.

He said the po­lice im­me­di­ately or­dered ev­ery­one in the bar to raise up their hands and lean against the wall be­fore pro­ceed­ing to search them.

They were then or­dered out of the bar and forced to “roll on the ground from the door to the toi­let and at the same time they were kick­ing us”.

Mr Lentsoe — who also told the court that he was a teacher by pro­fes­sion — said they were forced to roll on the rocky ground that had pot­holes which were filled with wa­ter as it had just rained.

He said the or­deal lasted 40 to 50 min­utes be­fore they were or­dered to dis­perse.

Asked by his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Mpho Mot­samai, how he felt af­ter the or­deal he said: “I was in pain as I sus­tained in­juries on my shoul­ders, knees, feet and my wrists.

“I was scared and felt hu­mil­i­ated,” he fur­ther stated, adding he re­ported the mat­ter to Mafeteng po­lice the next day and asked for a med­i­cal form so that he could go for a med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion.

“I went to one Dr Rathebe’s surgery and he ex­am­ined me af­ter which he filled in the med­i­cal form.

“I made a copy of the med­i­cal form and took the orig­i­nal copy back to the po­lice,” he said.

For the de­fence, Ad­vo­cate Mot­lalepula Nonyane said Mr Lentsoe’s tes­ti­mony was fabrication.

He said the med­i­cal re­port, which was pro­duced in court, did not con­form to the na­ture of in­juries he al­leged in his tes­ti­mony.

Ad­vo­cate Nonyane had asked him if he had been go­ing to work af­ter the al­leged or­deal.

In re­sponse Mr Lentsoe said: “I went to the school where I work on Mon­day and pro­ceeded with my nor­mal du­ties as the in­ci­dent had oc­curred on Fri­day.”

Ad­vo­cate Nonyane said it was im­pos­si­ble that the doc­tor could make a re­port that he sus­tained “se­vere” in­juries, which posed a dan­ger to his life with dis­abil­ity im­pli­ca­tions, yet he was able to go to work nor­mally af­ter two days.

This is­sue also at­tracted the at­ten­tion the pre­sid­ing judge, Jus­tice Tšeliso Mon­aphathi.

In his re­marks the judge said: “You were able to go to work two days af­ter the in­ci­dent, yet the doc­tor in this form shows that the amount of force ap­plied on you was ‘se­vere’, in­juries ‘se­vere’, dan­ger to life ‘se­vere’, ev­ery­thing ‘se­vere’? You were not even hos­pi­talised.

“I’m just re­mark­ing that the doc­tor seemed to have ex­ag­ger­ated or was he present in the tav­ern?” he asked.

Mr Lentsoe replied by say­ing the doc­tor was not present at the tav­ern and he was not a doc­tor and there­fore was not in a po­si­tion to com­ment on how doc­tors carry out their work.

The case was post­poned to 6 Fe­bru­ary this year.

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