Ex-cop sues employer over torture

MASERU — A lawyer representing former police officer Bokang Letele has asked the High Court to grant his client M3.6 million in damages after he was allegedly tortured by fellow officers.
Letele claims he was unlawfully arrested and brutally tortured by his fellow police officers eight years ago.
He said he suffered pain during the torture.
The police accused Letele of being involved in an armed robbery case that occurred at Butha-Buthe in 2001.
The lawyer, Advocate Thulo Mahlakeng, yesterday said his client deserved the amount that he was claiming against the police commissioner.
He said the police had tortured his client and seriously damaged his dignity.
“The plaintiff was ordered to undress in the police cells.
“He was hand-cuffed. His feet were tied up and he was forced to lie down on his chest on the ground.
“Police officer Mohau Tahleho then sat on the plaintiff’s waist.
“After some time he started suffocating the plaintiff using a tyre tube until the plaintiff was unconscious.
“When Tahleho was tired another police officer would take over.
“It was all-night torture,” Mahlakeng said.
He said the police acts were brutal.
“When he (Letele) asked to go to the toilet those police officers refused.
“He had to relieve himself on the floor in the ‘torture’ room.
“I am not dramatising anything here. I am only showing the brutality that the plaintiff was subjected to,” Mahlakeng said.
Letele, who was wearing a grey suit, stormed out of the courtroom when his lawyer was narrating his ordeal.
When the court adjourned for lunch, Letele was making quick puffs of the cigarette at the High Court’s main gate as tears were streaming down his chicks.
He told the Lesotho Times that his lawyer’s address in court had brought back sad memories of his ordeal.
“I could not sit in court any longer. I began to remember every horrible thing that those people did to me,” Letele said.
When the court reconvened after the lunch break, Mahlakeng said Letele had suffered much pain and humiliation during the torture.
“The medical report, which has been admitted as evidence in this court, showed that the plaintiff’s kidneys were damaged.
“His jaw and left arm were also broken. He was also humiliated by the police officers most of whom were his juniors.
“He really deserves the claim as appears in the (court) papers,” Mahlakeng said.
Advocate Mosito Mapetla, who is representing the defendants, is still to respond to Mahlakeng’s submissions.
Mapetla is expected to address the court today.

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