Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Botswana prisoners tortured Guantanamo style – testimony

Prison inmates this week revealed to the Gaborone Extension 2 Magistrate Court how the Gaborone Maximum Security Prison torture routines follow the notorious Guantanamo Bay pattern of violent abuse and sexual humiliation.

The Gaborone Extension 2 Magistrate had to clear out the court room and hold the session in camera because one of the witnesses pleaded that some of the details were too sensitive.

However, this was after another witness, Silas Huve had told the court how prison officials who were initially arraigned on two counts of grievous bodily harm ordered Badisa Moatshe to have sexual intercourse with Tefo Motshwari in full view of other officials. The two prisoners, however, had allegedly been so badly beaten that they could not have homosexual intercourse.

Mpho Mogobjwe, another witnesses, told the court that on the afternoon of 12th February last year at Central Prison, they were ordered to line up near cell Number 6.

He said before they were ordered to line up, he saw some of the accused prison officers carrying a step ladder.

He said after the prison officials had searched their cell, he was taken to a place within prison, commonly known as Slaughter Room, where he was seriously beaten by the same officers.

Mogobjwe narrated how, before he was beaten, the accused persons undressed and forced him to submerge his head in a pail full of water while all the while they were beating him with a baton stick.

Other inmates, he said, were also beaten and one Dennis Moyo was bleeding through his ears.

However, during his testimony, the witness asked the Magistrate to clear the courtroom because of the sensitive nature of the testimony he was about to give.

The officer from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Khumoitsile, told Sunday Standard that they expect to bring about six witnesses to testify against the accused persons.

According to the charge sheet the accused persons, Mohutsana Bogotsa, Kgomotso Mhateng, Ronald Kgaogano, Albert Muzola, Peter Baitsadi and Keorapetse Mmolai, on the 12th February of 2008 unlawfully caused grievous bodily harm to Badisa Moatshe and Tefo Montshwari.

It I, however, not clear whether this was an isolated incident by rogue officers acting independently or part of an interrogation strategy that is in place.

The trial is scheduled to continue on the 12th of January next year.

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