Congolese 'plotters' claim abuse in Pretoria prison

2014-07-22 05:00
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - A group of Congolese men complained on Monday of abuse at the hands of South African prison officers while awaiting trial for an alleged plot to kill DRC President Joseph Kabila and overthrow his government.

The prisoners were allegedly kicked and punched in holding cells in Pretoria, according to a lawyer representing 14 of the 20.

"I have received complaints of physical abuse, verbal abuse and naturally it would lead to emotional abuse of my clients," Thesigan Pillay told AFP.

The 20 men were arrested 17 months ago after police uncovered an alleged plot to kill Kabila which included a "hit list" of other Congolese leaders on a computer belonging to one of them.

"One of my clients indicated to me that they attempted to use a knife to stab him," added Pillay.

"They are denied medical care after such assaults because if they are granted medical care their injuries would have to be documentation," he said.

The lawyer reported the allegations to a court on Monday when the group's trial was scheduled to start. He said the men were also only let out of their cells one hour a day.

Armed police guarded the men inside a tense courtroom while a handful of supporters chanted anti-Kabila slogans outside.

Besides the president, the prosecution claims the group was targeting other senior DRC figures including the head of the military, interior minister and the central bank governor.

Most of the defendants, aged 25 to 49, were longtime residents of South Africa and belonged to a group that called itself the Union of Nationalists for the Renewal (UNR) of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They were caught in a sting operation after Spolice infiltrated the group over a period of six months, secretly filming several meetings. Prosecutors also claim that the men exchanged emails discussing a planned coup d'etat.

Pillay said he would also fight the legality of the investigation because of the methods police used.

The trial was postponed for a week on Monday because one of the accused changed lawyers.

The DRC, a country nearly the size of western Europe, with abundant natural resources, has been shattered by decades of strife, particularly in its mineral-rich east.

Kabila took office in 2001 at the height of a devastating conflict that became known as "Africa's Great War".

International envoys have expressed concern he could run for a third term in office, flouting constitutional term-limits.

Prison officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
Investment tips you need to know 2015-01-29 14:07

Ever wondered how to assess your future potential liability? Feroz Basa, Senior Portfolio Manager Old Mutual Investment Group, weighs in on all the investment tips you need to know. WATCH.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to connect to your inner needs and try to get things back into a more balanced rhythm. There will be emotional...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.