- Lesotho’s Mounted Police Service has allegedly detained and tortured a human rights lawyer.
- A shopper linked to an armed theft case claims to have given the lawyer an unlawful firearm linked to the investigation.
- Lesotho’s legislation society has condemned police brutality in investigations “in the strongest terms”.
Lesotho’s Mounted Police Service (LMPS) stands accused of detaining and torturing Napo Mafaesa, a human rights lawyer, after a shopper of his allegedly lied that he handed over an unlawful firearm to the advocate for safekeeping.
The shopper, a suspect linked to an armed theft case, was mentioned to have made the declare whereas allegedly being tortured by the LMPS. Thereafter, the LMPS went to Mafaesa’s chambers the place they arrested him and detained him for 3 days.
In a phone interview from the Mountain Kingdom, advocate Mokoenanyane Makhobakhobe informed News24 that the shopper had made the utterance underneath duress in order to keep away from additional torture.
“The client lied that he had given the firearm under question to his lawyer because he wanted the torture to end. Little did he know that they would turn to his lawyer to do the same or worse,” he mentioned.
Makhobakhobe mentioned for 3 days Mafaesa was tortured whereas the Transformation Resource Center (TRC) and Southern African Litigation Center (SALC) battled to safe his launch.
“When he was released, I was there. He could hardly walk or talk. He could have died,” he mentioned.
The Law Society of Lesotho (LSL) in a press release mentioned they condemned “in the strongest terms, the brutalisation of suspects and detainees in the hands of law enforcement agencies, an investigative technique which is characteristic of an authoritarian rule and has no room in the modern democratic dispensation”.
The LSL mentioned the LMPS went about its investigation the unsuitable means and may have interrogated the suspect within the presence of his lawyer whom they solely hunted down after allegations have been levelled in opposition to him.
“Notwithstanding that lawyers are not immune from investigations and prosecution for criminal offences, even if committed in their professional capacities; the mode of operation by LMPS should not be to undermine the fundamental principle of lawyer-client privilege which underlies the entire administration of justice,” the society mentioned.
In a joint assertion, TRC and SALC mentioned investigators had “turned the LMPS into an official institution of torture”.
“This incident adds to a deeply troubling trend which stands against our long-standing advocacy against police brutality, and unlawful use of force by the security sector institutions on detainees and those either called in for questioning and/ or arrested,” the assertion mentioned.
Lesotho ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 2001, and the nation was duty-bound to take efficient legislative, administrative, judicial or different measures to stop acts of torture and ill-treatment.
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