Detained soldiers fight for bail

Detained soldiers fight for bail

MASERU – A graveling ill soldier facing murder charges is fighting for bail to seek treatment in South Africa.
His co-accused is pleading with the court to grant him bail so that he can see his child who was born when he was already in detention.

Lance Corporal Motsieloa Leutsoa and Lance Corporal Tšitso Ramoholi are charged with murders of police’s Sub-Inspector Monaheng Ramahloko and the army’s Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao.
They have spent months in custody while their case drags on in the High Court.

The two have now filed an urgent Constitutional Case, arguing that their “exceptional circumstances” warrant bail.
However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, says the court should dismiss their application.
Lance Corporal Motsieloa said he started having back pains earlier this year but the condition worsened June and he was referred to Dr. Maama Mojela at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital. He said he was then referred to Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (Tšepong).

Lance Corporal Motsieloa said he was told by a doctor at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital that his condition is so serious that it has to be treated in Bloemfontein.
“I did request the doctor to write that observation in my booklet and he declined saying the Ministry of Health has directed that no referrals should be made to South Africa.”
Lance Corporal Motsieloa said the doctor explained that the procedure would cost about M400 000.

“This situation does not help my back pain but worsens it, even Tuberculosis and abscess diseases are rampant in the prison and medication is lacking at Maseru Central Correctional Institution Health Clinic,” he said.  Lance Corporal Ramoholi said he had just been married and his wife was a few weeks pregnant when he was arrested in November 2017.
“In August 1, 2018, she gave birth. My arithmetic tells me that my child is now over a year and a month old,” he said.

Lance Corporal Ramoholi said his incarceration without speedy trial has effectively denied his child “the feel and comfort of being raised by a father and mother”.
He said he has not seen his child because infants are not allowed in the prison.  “I cannot come to think of any treatment more cruel and inhuman than this. This does not only violate my right to family life but also violates the rights of my minor child as protected under the law,” he said.

Responding to their application, Advocate Motinyane said they “must remain in custody because of the risk they pose to national security”.
“They have not proved exceptional circumstances for their release on bail in view of the delicately poised security situation in Lesotho,” she said.
“Some of their co-accused like Tumo Lekhooa have already skipped the country to avoid criminal prosecution and Applicants are likely to abscond if released on bail.”

She said their murder of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko and Lt. Gen. Mahao “has a bearing on the toxic political climate which frustrated the investigations into the criminal conduct of the accused people involved”.
“They did not cooperate with the police and they would not be charged because they were in league with the people in power,” she said.

Advocate Motinyane said they were only arrested after the intervention of the international community.
The army also frustrated the identification suspects in Lt. Gen. Mahao’s murder, she said.
“They did not avail themselves before the SADC Commission of Enquiry and they refused to report themselves to the headquarters police station for reasons which later claimed the life of another army commander Lt. General Motšomotšo.” She said at one point their names were expunged from the commission of enquiry report.

Itumeleng Khoete

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