CCL ‘refused access’ to Mokhosi
THE Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) says it was refused access to Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) deputy leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi, who was in custody at Maseru Central Prison on Friday.
Mr Mokhosi, who is facing charges of murdering Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng, has since been granted bail by High Court Judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo, who released him on condition that he paid M1000 as bail deposit.
The judge also ordered him to attend remands and stand his trial to finality.
Mr Mokhosi handed himself to the police last Monday and briefly appeared in court on Wednesday, amid allegations by his party that he was tortured in police custody.
CCL Secretary General, Khosi Makubakube, said they subsequently visited Maseru Prison on Friday morning to ascertain if at all Mr Mokhosi had been tortured.
“The church was however denied the opportunity to see Ntate Mokhosi,” Mr Makubakube said, “We were initially told to wait for a response and after an hour and thirty minutes, we were then informed that we could not see Ntate Mokhosi”.
He said they were told to make a formal written request to see Mr Mokhosi and they would receive a response within seven days, during which Mr Mokhosi would also be given an opportunity to decide whether or not he wanted to see them.
“We wanted to hear Mr Mokhosi’s account of the alleged assault while in police custody, find out about his health but the CCL was denied this opportunity to talk to him and hear his side of the story,” Mr Makubakube said.
He said it was the responsibility of the church to ensure the rule of law was upheld in the country and that everyone, including suspects, were not denied their basic human rights.
Mr Makubakube said the church went there to also ensure that Mr Mokhosi enjoyed his rights as enshrined in the constitution of Lesotho; saying no one should be tortured.
“We however, couldn’t gain access to him as we were told to go and make our request in writing which would be responded to within seven days. We have since made a formal request in writing,” Mr Makubakube said, adding that the church did the same thing when 22 soldiers were in detention on mutiny charges before their release this year.
The church’s attempt to see Mr Mokhosi came a day after the CCL held a crisis meeting with the opposition.
“I can confirm that we met (the opposition) on Thursday and that is when we were officially informed that LCD leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, and Democratic Congress deputy leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, had fled the country. Apart from that, I cannot divulge details of the meeting,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Lesotho Correctional Service spokesperson, Superintendent Neo Mopeli, said apart from the church, “there were many civil society organisations who came on the same day and time to see Mr Mokhosi and they were all told to write to the office of the commissioner to request access to Mr Mokhosi”.
“After going through the request, the office of the commissioner of LCS would then respond within seven days and give correctional service workers permission to allow them to see Ntate Mokhosi.
“I must explain that this applies even to other prisoners whom civil society organisations or the CCL would want to visit in prison,” Superintendent Mopeli said.