Lesotho’s mounted police pressure accused of detaining, torturing human rights lawyer

  • Lesotho’s Mounted Police Service has allegedly detained and tortured a human rights lawyer.
  • A shopper linked to an armed theft case claims to have given the lawyer an unlawful firearm linked to the investigation.
  • Lesotho’s legislation society has condemned police brutality in investigations “within the strongest phrases”.

Lesotho’s Mounted Police Service (LMPS) stands accused of detaining and torturing Napo Mafaesa, a human rights lawyer, after a shopper of his allegedly lied that he handed over an unlawful firearm to the advocate for safekeeping.

The shopper, a suspect linked to an armed theft case, was mentioned to have made the declare whereas allegedly being tortured by the LMPS. Thereafter, the LMPS went to Mafaesa’s chambers the place they arrested him and detained him for 3 days.

In a phone interview from the Mountain Kingdom, advocate Mokoenanyane Makhobakhobe instructed News24 that the shopper had made the utterance below duress in order to keep away from additional torture.

“The shopper lied that he had given the firearm below query to his lawyer as a result of he needed the torture to finish. Little did he know that they’d flip to his lawyer to do the identical or worse,” he mentioned.

Makhobakhobe mentioned for 3 days Mafaesa was tortured whereas the Transformation Useful resource Heart (TRC) and Southern African Litigation Heart (SALC) battled to safe his launch.

“When he was launched, I used to be there. He might hardly stroll or discuss. He might have died,” he mentioned.

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The Regulation Society of Lesotho (LSL) in a press release mentioned they condemned “within the strongest phrases, the brutalisation of suspects and detainees within the fingers of legislation enforcement companies, an investigative method which is attribute of an authoritarian rule and has no room within the fashionable democratic dispensation”.

The LSL mentioned the LMPS went about its investigation the unsuitable manner and will have interrogated the suspect within the presence of his lawyer whom they solely hunted down after allegations had been levelled in opposition to him.

“However that legal professionals should not immune from investigations and prosecution for felony offences, even when dedicated of their skilled capacities; the mode of operation by LMPS shouldn’t be to undermine the basic precept of lawyer-client privilege which underlies the complete administration of justice,” the society mentioned.

In a joint assertion, TRC and SALC mentioned investigators had “turned the LMPS into an official establishment of torture”.

“This incident provides to a deeply troubling development which stands in opposition to our long-standing advocacy in opposition to police brutality, and illegal use of pressure by the safety sector establishments on detainees and people both referred to as in for questioning and/ or arrested,” the assertion mentioned.

Lesotho ratified the United Nations Conference Towards Torture (CAT) in 2001, and the nation was duty-bound to take efficient legislative, administrative, judicial or different measures to forestall acts of torture and ill-treatment.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Basis. The tales produced by means of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that could be contained herein don’t replicate these of the Hanns Seidel Basis.

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