Human rights watchdog calls for probe into prison torture claims

Lawyers for Human Rights has called for an immediate investigation into allegations of severe assault and torture at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

In a letter sent to the station commander of the Pretoria Central Police Station on Tuesday‚ LHR detailed incidents of alleged abuse against 16 inmates by correctional officials.

Some of these inmates were witnesses to the alleged murder of another inmate by correctional officials‚ the human rights watchdog stated.

LHR’s Penal Reform Programme was prompted to call for the investigation after receiving an increasing number of complaints of severe assault. It appeared that the alleged incidents of assault had‚ for the most part‚ occurred during purported search and seizure operations‚ LHR added.

“If we are to prevent incidents of assault and torture‚ which our international obligations indeed require of us‚ then the criminal prosecution of those responsible for assaults and torture is vital‚” said LHR’s Clare Ballard.

As it stands‚ if an inmate wishes to open a case with the police‚ the request must first go through correctional officials‚ according to LHR. It is this communication gap between police and inmates that LHR hopes to address.

LHR would now give police an opportunity to investigate the allegations and monitor progress‚ Ballard said.

Date of publication: 
19 November 2015
Times Live