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Maputsoe police sued for brutality 

by Lesotho Times


Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

A Ha-Matala woman is claiming M650 000 from Maputsoe police for allegedly brutally assaulting and torturing her three years ago.

According to papers submitted before the High Court this week, ’Mabokang Sootho was among a group of employees fired by Matebesi Wholesaler in September 2012 soon after M45 000 went missing from the Maputsoe-based firm.

Ms Sootho says she was arrested on 27 September 2012 and severely assaulted and tortured as the police tried to make her confess to the theft.

“It is on the basis of these assaults that the plaintiff brought an action claiming damages as categorised…,” the court papers read.

Ms Sootho wants the court to direct the police to pay her M150 for medical expenses, M2 800 for loss of income, M300 000 for contumelia, M197 050 for pain and suffering, M100 000 for loss of amenities and M50 000 for disfigurement.

The Officer Commanding Maputsoe Police Station, Commissioner of Police and Attorney General, are cited as first to third defendants, respectively, in the lawsuit.

The court papers further read: “It is Ms Sootho’s testimony that upon her arrival, she found some of her ex-colleagues also present at the station. She testifies that it was around 9am when she arrived at the police station and was told that she had stolen from her employer.

“She says she denied having stolen the said money but was promised she would be killed while being told to go wait outside next to a tree. She says she was made to stand there for up to four hours and every time she tried to sit down, she was rebuked. She says she stood there until she was numb and she said her skin had assumed a different colour altogether (purplish) as a result of this.

“She says she was only called inside after the officers realised it was going to rain. She was beaten with bare hands on her face by one officer, and was strangled and subsequently a jug of water was thrown into her face as she showed signs of suffocating. She says she was also beaten with a stick on the buttocks with the officers taking turns on her. She says she was assaulted because she refused to undertake to repay the money she did not steal.”

The court papers further indicate how Ms Sootho was allegedly released around 4:30pm “hours after being forced to admit that she had stolen from her employer and undertaking to pay back the money.

“She further testified that she could not walk to her house and had to be assisted by her ex-colleagues who hired a cab for her. She later went to see the doctor that day,” the court documents further read.

Ms Sootho also submitted a doctor’s report as part of evidence of injuries emanating from the alleged torture.

Meanwhile, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi postponed the matter to 19 November. Advocate Matletse Likhoeli represents Ms Sootho in the case.

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