Cop murder accused claims torture

2013-08-01 18:43

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Pretoria - Two of the men accused of killing police Major General Tirhani Maswanganyi claimed on Thursday that they were repeatedly tortured by the police after their arrest.

Nditsheni Daniel Nefolovhodwe, 39, described in detail to the Pretoria North District Court how he was allegedly repeatedly suffocated with a plastic bag after his arrest on 24 June.

He claimed he was also beaten, tied up, and forced to wet himself.

Nefolovhodwe said he was taken into custody by three members of the Hawks.

They took him to a building in Krugersdorp, where he was questioned in a conference room by three police colonels, with a man named Frans sitting behind him.

He told the court he was struck on the neck before the colonels left the room, and alleged that once they had left, his hands were tied behind his back with a brown belt and he was pushed face down onto a blanket. Frans sat on top of him.

Nefolovhodwe said his face was covered with a plastic bag and he struggled to breathe. He testified that the police told him they would not stop unless he urinated on himself.

He did so, but the police continued torturing him for six hours before putting him in a cell, he claimed.

He said the same thing happened again when on 28 or 29 June, when he was taken to a building on Victoria Street, Germiston.

On that occasion, his hand and legs were tied behind his back with a towing rope and he was strangled with a plastic tube, he claimed.

"I felt at that stage I was going to die," he told the full courtroom.

Nefolovhodwe, who is a corporal in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), said he did not receive medical treatment while in police custody.

He told the court he had experienced continuous pain since then, and his hearing had also been affected. He said he had not been read his rights during his detention.

He said he would plead not guilty to the charges.

Nefolovhodwe is accused with Ndaedzo Isaac Vele, 29, Tshepo Mosai, 30, and Roger Godfrey Moseki, 33, of killing Maswanganyi, whose body was found on 17 June in a field near Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, with his hands and feet bound.

Bail opposed

The police had launched a search for him after his Isuzu bakkie was found abandoned next to the R101. A police uniform and police identification card were in the car.

The State has opposed bail for all four accused.

They face charges of premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and driving a vehicle without the owner's permission.

Earlier, Vele submitted an affidavit alleging that he was also beaten and tortured by the police.

"I've been brutally assaulted by [the SA Police Service]... [and] tortured severely," he said in his affidavit.

If he did not get bail, he would lose his income, he submitted, adding that he believed the State did not have any evidence linking him to the scene of the crime.

Vele, who is also a member of the SANDF, was stationed at the same facility as Nefolovhodwe.

Nefolovhodwe said they had worked together, but not in the same department.

Both said they were at work between 08:00 and 16:00 on 17 June, which Vele's commanding officer confirmed in an affidavit.

Read more on:    police  |  sandf  |  tirhani maswanganyi

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