Villagers sue PM for torture
Published on August 15, 2014 · No Comments
MASERU – A total of 129 residents of Ha Hlalele, who claim they were tortured and assaulted by the Mokhalinyane police, are suing Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane for M406, 250 in general damages.
Besides being manhandled and dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night, the villagers allege the police also insulted them, in addition to arresting and detaining them for no apparent reason.
The Prime Minister is being sued in his capacity as the minister of police.
The incident is alleged to have occurred on February 11 this year in Ha Hlalele, Maseru, during a police operation allegedly led by one Sergeant Thulo of the Mokhalinyane police.
In their court papers, filed on August 8 before the High Court, the 128 plaintiffs claim their households were broken into as the raiding police officers forced their way into their homes.
The human rights violations meted out on the villagers, according to the papers, range from being dragged out of their beds naked or semi-naked and being assaulted with an array of blunt weapons including gun-butts, sticks as well as knobkerries.
Some of the aggrieved villagers further claim they were ordered to undress and made to roll on the ground with their nude bodies while being subjected to severe assaults.
Their papers also show, “They were caused to abandon their toddlers, homes, stock and property. They had their dogs shot, they were jeered at with lewd remarks and made to suffer sarcasm (sic) as pregnant women were forced or ordered to bear children on the spot.
“About 24 of them were locked up and detained following the abuse and assault. Those who were detained were not allowed access to hygienic towels and those who were seriously injured were denied access to medical attendance.”
The said acts, the documents further indicate, were perpetrated by Officer Thulo leading other police officers, adding the acts constitute some of the most serious violations of human rights by police.
“The above acts constitute the most serious violation of human rights by police such that they render Officer Thulo to be declared not fit to be a police officer anymore due to the barbaric acts committed under his command and leadership which he was motivating,” the papers also show.
The justice minister, the commissioner of police and the attorney general have also been cited as defendants in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs further contend the above defendants failed in their respective duties to prevent the unlawful acts from being meted out on them.
“It follows that as a result of the foregoing unlawful and wrongful acts of the police upon the plaintiffs, the latter suffered general damages which include but are not limited to serious bodily injuries,” the papers also show.
The plaintiffs demand the M406, 250 damages at an interest rate of 18.5 percent per annum. They also want the commissioner of police to be directed to remove Officer Thulo from the ranks of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
Advocate Letuka Molati represents 103 of the plaintiffs while Guardian Chambers appear for the rest.
Tel: +266 22321414
Mobile: 22 28310614
Fax: +266 22310614
Adddress: P.O. Box 14129, Maseru 100,