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July 19, 2024
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INMATE EXCUSED FROM TESTIFYING

Maseru, May 27 — One of the inmates, who was assaulted by Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Officers was excused from testifying before the Commission of Inquiry due to threats allegations he raised.

Liphapang Sefako told the Commision that he was not comfortable to testify publicly on the incidents that occurred at Maseru Central Correctional Institution (MCCI) on December 21 and 22, 2023 as LCS Senior Officers earlier threatened him. 

He indicated that him and all inmates attended a meeting on Monday  morning and were told by Officer Commanding MCCI, Assistant Commissioner Tsoto Manaka that they were to testify before the commission, coding him saying ” the Commission will start hearing inmates testimonies from today, say what you want but remember that in the end, you are still going to remain with us here and the commission would have left by then ” .

He therefore said he regarded those words as a threat to him, saying he has already spent seven years at MCCI and could spend 30 more thus the question is what is going to happen to him following these words.

He also indicated that he will not give a testimony in public as he was going to talk about officers who assaulted him without no good reason and even expelled his lawyer who came to see him after he was assaulted.

The Evidence Leader  Advocate Makhele Sekati indicated that although he did not speak with Assistant Commissioner Manaka directly, he talked with LCS Commissioner Mating Nkakala and assured him that inmates will not be threatened, saying he was surprised to hear they were threatened today.

Meanwhile the Commission adjourned for 30 minutes and the Commission’s Chairperson Justice Realeboha Mathaba indicated that they were shocked by what the inmate said and that they were unable to have sufficient time to deal with it as they want to decisely deal with it.

He therefore said once the Commission has dealt with issues he raised, he will be called to testify and the decision not to appear on pictures or television should not be influenced by threats thus decided to excuse the inmate while it is dealing with the issues he raised.

The Commission of Inquiry is expected to complete the work within two months and was established with the objective to investigate the circumstances that led to the escape and assault of inmates which resulted in the death of one inmate leaving the other paralyzed in December last year at MCCI.

ends 

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