Saturday, September 19, 2020

Police officers deny torture claims

The defendants in a case in which two Zimbabwean nationals are suing the Botswana government for over P1 million in damages have denied that they tortured the plaintiffs.

The two Zimbabwean nationals, Tafireyi Gwere and Admire Nyoni, have filed a lawsuit with the Francistown magistrates’ court claiming that they were unlawfully detained and subjected to humiliating and inhuman treatment by the two officers.

When leading evidence in court last week, one of the police officers said the applicants’ claims are false and baseless. He said the first time he encountered Tafireyi Gwere he was in possession of property that was suspected to be stolen. He said Gwere was in possession of six containers of diesel, which he claimed to have bought from some truck driver. He said Gwere failed to produce receipts to prove that indeed he had purchased the diesel.

“The accused was lawfully detained and all the proper procedures were followed, the claim that the two suspects were tortured and ill treated is not true,” he said.

He added that while they were still investigating the matter, Nyoni came to the police station and claimed the diesel was his. However, he also failed to prove that the diesel was his, as he only produced handwritten receipts.

“He claimed that he had bought the diesel from Tapiwa Filling Station in Letlhakane. When we approached the owner of the filling station he denied any knowledge of the receipts,” he said.
The officer said the two were arrested and detained because they gave conflicting evidence and failed to prove that they were the rightful owners of the diesel.

Tebogo Ndebele, who was the officer in charge at the police station, also dismissed the Zimbabweans’ claim that they were harassed and maintained that they were lawfully detained.
Gwere and Nyoni were arrested after a tip off from the public.

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