Marikana suspects tortured – Mpofu

2012-10-29 09:17

Advocate Dali Mpofu has told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that mine workers arrested in connection with some of the murders that occurred during the violent Lonmin strike have been tortured in police custody.

Mpofu, who represents 78 of the people injured during the bloody August 16 shooting that left 34 dead and 278 injured, told the commission he had heard “allegations of torture and assault of the suspects”.

He also raised concern that there was an SA Police Service videographer at the commission, which made the proceedings seem like an “undeclared identity parade”.

He said the four miners who were arrested last week had been stopped by police while returning from the commission’s proceedings, which indicated they had been identified during its sitting.

Mpofu and Amcu lawyer Tim Bruinders are arguing that the arrest of the men hampers their participation in the commission, whose terms of reference include investigating police complicity in the killing of the 34 miners.

Bruinders said the arrested men were all Amcu members and they had not finished making statements to their lawyers before they were arrested.

He said they now feared further consequences if they made further statements because they felt intimidated by the police.

Mpofu and Bruinders said it was vital that the men appear before the commission because they were the only ones who had a different version of events on August 16.

The lawyers are arguing that the crimes for which the accused have been arrested fall within the terms of reference of the commission and there should therefore be an “understanding” between police and the legal teams on how to handle the matter.

“We are not saying that police should do nothing,” Mpofu said.

“But they should not be taking drastic measures of hampering our investigation by terrorising witnesses,” Mpofu said.

He said that the police who shot at the 34 miners on August 16 were neither arrested nor suspended.

The commission has adjourned to allow lawyers and evidence leaders to discuss the matter further.

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