TRC blasts rights violations

TRC blasts rights violations

MASERU – THE Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) last week tabled a scathing report about Lesotho’s human rights record at the 62nd Ordinary Session of African Commission in Mauritania. The TRC Human Rights Defender Lepeli Moeketsi told the Commission that “police officers who are involved in barbaric acts are known” but they are not prosecuted.
“They enjoy the protection of government contrary to Lesotho Mounted Police Service (Admin) Regulations of 2003,” Moeketsi said.
He said the regulations require managers to ensure that necessary disciplinary and criminal measures are taken against rogue police officers but this is never done.

He also said the police flagrantly ignore Section 8 of the Constitution that states that “no person shall be subjected to torture or inhumane or degrading punishment or other treatment”.
“Although the Constitution and the LMPS Act of 1998 expressly prohibit torture and inhuman practices, Lesotho is currently experiencing rampant incidents of torture and killings by members of the police,” he reported.

“These are evidenced by some recent tortures on the 28th June 2018 of Mr Mpho Mokhele, Mojalefa Kolisang and Lebohang Molefe who were severely tortured at the Vehicle Theft Department and Counter Robbery Crime Unit Police at Moshoeshoe II by police in custody,” he said.
“Mr Kolisang endured torture from Maseru to Maputsoe where upon arrival he was locked in a dirty pit latrine toilet for the whole night. The torture was aimed at forcing them to incriminate themselves to a crime committed in 2013.”

Moeketsi also told the African Commission on Human Rights of the killing of Thelingaone ’Mota in Koro-Koro, Terene Pitae in Kao and others by the police.
“The TRC is concerned that prior to advent of these unfortunate incidents of torture and killings of civilians by police, reckless statements were uttered by the government inciting police to disregard the rule of law and human rights,” he reported.

Moeketsi was referring to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s statements inciting the police to commit the crimes when he condemned murder and rape of the elderly.
Thabane told the police to beat up crime suspects.
He even repeated the statement in parliament and with the support of the Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane, refused to withdraw his utterances.

Moeketsi also reported about the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Temeki Tšolo who is on record as saying the “police must shoot criminals and the government will collect the corpses”.
“It is evident that police are perpetrating these barbaric actions because they believe that they have been blessed by the Prime Minister and some of his cabinet ministers.”
Moeketsi also reported that they were shocked to see that the police are using “law as a weapon against civilians who are voicing dissenting views opposed to the government”.
“We currently noted the issue of one Mr Khotsang Moshoeshoe who stood firmly in opposing new regulations on wool and mohair industry.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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