More pain for faeces victim  

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

IT never rains but pours for 31 year old Kabelo Ratia of Nazareth, Maseru.

Mr Ratia says he has abandoned his home in fear for his life two months after he made local and international headlines for being subjected to horrendous torture at the hands of the police who made him eat his own faeces in detention.

The police have been regularly in the news for human rights abuses but in one of the worst accusations of sordid and sadistic behaviour leveled against them, Mr Ratia alleged that he was tortured to the point where he soiled himself and was made to eat his own faeces.

He was arrested in July 2019 for allegedly stealing M30 000 from a local businessman. During his detention Mr Ratia was allegedly subjected to horrendous torture and forced to implicate others including one Thabo Mei in the alleged theft of the businessman’s money. Mr Mei later died in his hospital allegedly from the injuries inflicted on him.

But even after his release from detention, Mr Ratia says his ordeal is far from over and he has had to abandon his home for a secret location in fear of police who are allegedly vowing to deal with them for exposing them.

He said he had been tipped by anonymous well-wishers that the police are after his life.

“I have fled my home in Nazareth and I will not disclose my whereabouts for safety reasons,” Mr Ratia said in a telephone interview with the Lesotho Times this week.

“I have received several tip-offs that some police officers are looking for me saying they want me dead because I exposed them for their inhumane torture while I was in detention.

“I live in fear and I have to constantly look over my shoulder wherever I go lest something happens to me. I’d rather be called a coward and flee than stay at home wait for my death. I know I can’t run away from death but all the same I can’t sit back and wait for people to get me.”

He said evenings were particularly the worst times and sent chills down his spine as he could be abducted and killed without anybody noticing.

“I take comfort in the break of dawn knowing that there are people around who can always tell I am abducted.”

Mr Ratia was arrested in July 2019 and forced to implicate others including the now deceased Mr Mei in the alleged theft of M30 000.  Other suspects who were subsequently arrested are Thabiso Mei, Thato Liau and Gerard Leshapa.

Before his death in July, Mr Thabo Mei narrated how some police officers would heat a spade and beat him with it until he lost consciousness. Doctors told his family that their son could have suffered brain damage and internal bleeding as his head was bashed against a wall.

After his torture his whole body was covered in green and red bruises and he had an open wound on the waist which could not even be stitched. His speech was slurred making it hard to hear what he wanted to say.

Ever since his death, Mr Mei’s family have been very vocal in the media, expressing their anger over the torture and his death. His younger brother, Lebaka Mei, now alleges that he has been tipped off that the officers implicated in his brother’s death are baying for his blood for his outspokenness on the issue.

“On 31 August 2019, I was on my way to a funeral at Ha Makhalanyane when I came across a road block at Masianokeng. Shortly afterwards, I was flagged down by someone who told me that the police officers who had been manning the roadblock were stopping me. They were now driving a Quantum vehicle.

“They subjected me to a thorough search and much later after the funeral, I noticed the same Quantum now stationed at the bus stop close to where the funeral had been held. The Quantum was now being driven by a police officer who was implicated in my brother’s torture.

“I am scared because I have been told that these police officers are not happy with me talking to the media about my brother’s torture and subsequent death. I don’t know what will happen to me. My informers have told me that the police officers are not happy and they I should be silenced as I am too noisy when interviewed by the radio stations.

“I wouldn’t like to go through what my brother went through at the hands of the police and so I should always look over my shoulder wherever I go,” Mr Mei said.

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