Saturday, December 9, 2023

Prisoner alleges abuse, discrimination by authorities

Dawood Mokgatle, a convicted murderer, on Monday told Lobatse High Court judge Michael Leburu that prison wardens in First Offenders jail are discriminating against him as a Muslim by denying him “halal” meat and forcing him to follow Christian way of praying.

Mokgatle, who is serving ten years for murder, also told Leburu that everyday they are made to congregate then pray in the Christian way, a thing which he said is very wrong as he is a Muslim and fears that he will not be accepted in paradise after he dies.

“What they are doing to me is hurting me very much as it is against my beliefs and will make me lose on going to paradise after my death,” he stressed.

Besides , he said that the Officer in Command at the prison is denying them chance to watch Muslim programmes on television and that the television, which has a lot of channels, only shows Christian programmes.

Asked by his lawyer if he had raised the complaints with authorities, Mokgatle said that he had done so but was told that the prison, like other institutions in the country, runs things in the Christian way and that it was for the same reason that they are all made to pray in the Christian way.

He also said that the prison wardens are encouraging illegal smoking in prison by selling cigarettes to prisoners who then smoke everywhere they like, which he said adversely affects him as he is a non smoker. He said that there were 10 Muslims in Gaborone first offenders prison.
Mokgatle wants an order declaring that the prison authorities’ acts against him are unlawful.
The state is opposing the application.


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