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Post office boss sues police for torture

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — A post office manager has filed a M200 000 lawsuit against the police for torture, unlawful arrest and detention.

Taele Mohale, who is the manager of the Maseru West Industrial Area Post Office, is claiming M50 000 on each of the four charges.

The defendants are the Commissioner of Police, ’Malejaka Letooane, and the Attorney General, Ts’okolo Makhethe.

In papers filed at the High Court this week, Mohale’s lawyer, Mosito Rabotsoa, said Mohale was on duty sometime in February when the police arrested him.

Mohale was suspected of assisting thieves to steal from the post office.

The suspected thieves whom Mohale allegedly assisted were a former Public Eye newspaper columnist, Tukula Makhakhe, and Karabo Thulo who are currently facing charges of armed robbery in the Maseru magistrate’s court.

Makhakhe and Thulo allegedly seized M29 677 at gunpoint from the post office on February 6 after threatening a Post Bank worker, Tsekisetso Nkoane, saying he should release the money to them or else they would shoot him.

The police arrested Mohale on suspicion that he had assisted the robbers.

“The plaintiff (Mohale) was unlawfully, wrongfully and assaulted by the same CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and Ha-Hoohlo police where he was subsequently taken,” says Rabotsoa in court papers.

“The plaintiff was handcuffed, asphyxiated with a plastic bag (on) numerous times.”

Rabotsoa says Mohale was kicked by Constable Ntepe, Sergeant Masela and Constable Khotso “who also kept on hitting him with a knobkerrie on the buttocks.”

“This assault continued for a long time,” the lawyer says.

The assault, Rabotsoa says, took place in the presence of young men and women in and outside the police station.

“As a result of these humiliating and painful atrocities being seen by the public plaintiff suffered contumelia,” Rabotsoa says.

Contumelia is a legal term describing a damage caused by humiliation and therefore requiring compensation for harm suffered.

“Plaintiff could not walk (along the) streets boldly as he felt humiliated and everybody asked him as to what was the matter,” says Rabotsoa.

Rabotsoa says Mohale wrote a letter of demand to Letooane on June 2 but the claim was not honoured.

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