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Detained soldier bemoans unfair treatment

Advocate Letuka Molati

Nov. 5, 2019 2 min read

MASERU – One of the soldiers accused of strangling three civilians who allegedly died at an army camp says he is being denied access to medical treatment and food in prison.

Major Ramoepane’s lawyer Advocate Letuka Molati on Monday told the High Court that they had a court order directing the commissioner of LCS and the commander of Maseru Central Prison to ensure that his client received the essential medical treatment.

The accused along with nine other soldiers are alleged to have strangled to death Lekhoele Noko, Khothatso Makibinyane and Molise Pakela at the Setibing Military base in Maseru on May 16, 2017.

The three men’s bodies were later fished out of the Mohale Dam by police.

Major Ramoepane is charged together with Brigadier Rapele Mphaki, Captain Mahlehle Moeletsi, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Lance Corporal Mahlomola Makhoali and Privates Nthatakane Motanyane, Mots’oane Machai, Liphapang Sefako, Nemase Faso as well as Tieho Tikiso for the murder.

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They appear before Acting Justice Kabelo Lebotse from Botswana. Adv Molati told the court that his client was in hospital, seeing a medical doctor when LCS officers forcefully took him away.

He said the doctor therefore never got a chance to guide him about the diet to follow in respect of his medical condition. Although the Crown’s Senior Counsel Shaun Abrahams agreed that the accused should be physical fit to stand trial, he however, accused him of misleading the court about what actually transpired at the hospital.

SC Abrahams shot down allegations that Major Ramoepane was ever taken by force from hospital, confirming that he was instead officially discharged from the health institution.

At the end of the submissions, Justice Lebotse ordered that Major Ramoepane be returned to hospital for treatment. The matter is meanwhile expected to proceed in February 2020.

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