Lawyer details Krejcir 'torture'

2013-11-24 07:25
Radovan Krejcir at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court. (Jacaranda News, Twitter)

Radovan Krejcir at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court. (Jacaranda News, Twitter)

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Johannesburg - A Czech businessman, who was arrested for attempted murder and kidnapping, was tortured by South African police, his lawyers said on Saturday.

Radovan Krejcir is the controversial owner of a Johannesburg area shop where an explosion last week killed two people, in what he says was an attempt on his life.

He has been fighting an attempt by South African authorities to have him extradited to the Czech Republic, where he was sentenced to 11 years in prison in absentia for money laundering and is wanted for several crimes including tax fraud.

He claims the charges were trumped up because of his political links back home.

Krejcir and an associate were arrested on Friday for the alleged kidnapping and assault of a South African man in East Rand in June, according to South African newswire SAPA.

The BDK lawyers' office said Krejcir "was handcuffed, forced into an unmarked vehicle without number plates and driven towards the direction of Kathlehong, a township 35km east of Johannesburg.

Electrocuted

"At least five vehicles were in the motorcade, which pulled over in a rural isolated area where our client was forced out of the vehicle by an officer electrocuting him with a tazer gun.

"After being forced to his knees and asked several unanswerable questions, our client was tortured by having a plastic bag placed over his head and being suffocated until he lost consciousness."

Krejcir also allegedly suffered cuts to his wrists and forearms and burns from a chemical substance during the 90-minute ordeal.

About 20 members of the South African police were "present during said torture".

"Our client's house was ransacked by the officers and numerous items unlawfully confiscated," the lawyers added.

A case of assault and attempted murder has been opened against the police officers concerned.

False passport

Meanwhile, Krejcir and an unnamed co-accused will appear before a judge on Monday, police chief Riah Phiyega said on Saturday.

He was arrested on entering South Africa with a false passport in 2007 and has been fighting his extradition, also seeking refugee status.

In July, Krejcir escaped a suspected attempt on his life when a machine gun-rigged car fired at him as he entered his business premises, which are near a large shopping mall. The car later burst into flames.

Krejcir recently issued a statement noting that there had been two attempts on his life.

"The first... involved a motorcar that had been rigged with crude guns and operated by remote control. The other was a recent bomb blast which I assume was aimed at killing me. Unfortunately, two friends of mine died and another friend of mine was severely injured," he said in the statement.

"I want to categorically state that I have had no involvement in any of the killings that the media have been so freely speculating about," he added.

South African media have reported that Krejcir is suspected of links to organised crime and that at least 10 people associated with him have been killed.

Read more on:    radovan krejcir  |  johannesburg

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