Miners assaulted in custody - lawyer

2012-08-29 14:09

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Ga-Rankuwa - People detained in connection with the violence at Lonmin's Marikana mine were assaulted in police custody, the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday.

The men appeared in court where they were represented by about six lawyers.

"These accused were assaulted in custody. Some of them sustained injuries on the day of the arrest," said one of the lawyers, Simon Hlahla.

"Those who were injured are not getting medical attention. Their bail application should be treated as a matter of urgency."

The defence team told the court that not all of the 260 men arrested at the mine worked there. Some of them were onlookers.

One expressed concerns about those with chronic illnesses getting their medication while in custody.

"My colleague here makes it sound as if it's easy to say to a policeman 'I am on ARVs, may I have my medication?' It's not easy," Hlahla said, referring to prosecutor Nigel Carpenter.

He referred to the day when the mineworkers were brought to court and some were made to sit in police trucks for the whole day, while a few appeared in court.

Verification

"The defence team made a lot of noise about those conditions. Now we are told that other arrangements have been made."

Carpenter told the court earlier that the accused who were not in court on Wednesday would be held at the Ga-Rankuwa police station.

"This arrangement was done for the easy provision of toilet facilities, food and water," he said.

Hlahla told the court that the State was given a chance to verify the particulars of the detained men when they made their initial appearance on August 20.

The officer in charge of the investigation and verification of the men's addresses, Brigadier Jacobus van Zyl was not doing his job, the defence said.

"He got his bite at the cherry and he let it rot. Now he wants to get a fresh cherry. What assurance do we have that he will deliver?" Hlahla said.

Van Zyl was called in as the first State witness on Monday. He supported the State's application for the bail hearing to be postponed for a further seven days.

Only a few men from the group were in court because the room was not big enough to accommodate all of them. Those who appeared would have to convey what happened to the others.

They were arrested last Thursday after police opened fire on protesters near Lonmin's Marikana mine, North West, killing 34 and wounding 78.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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