The High Court is this week expected to hear a matter in which the family of Police Constable (PC) Mokalekale Khetheng wants his bosses to release him dead or alive.
PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and was allegedly last seen being arrested by his colleagues at his home in Sebothoane, Leribe, on 25 March this year, the family says in papers filed before the High Court.
The papers were filed last Wednesday by his father, Thabo Khetheng, through Advocate ’Mole Kumalo.
Officer Commanding Hlotse Police Station, Commissioner of Police, Minister of Police and Attorney General are cited as first to fourth respondents respectively in the matter.
The family wants the court to issue an order directing the respondents to show cause why they cannot be ordered to “produce the body of applicant’s son, Mokalekale Khetheng and the applicant’s son should not be released forthwith by his captors.” The family also wants an order “declaring the applicant’s son’s detention by the respondents unlawful and a violation of his rights to liberty; an order declaring the conduct of the second respondent in failing to account to the applicant on the reason for the detention of his son as unlawful.”
In his founding affidavit, Mr Khetheng says: “I’m the father of Mokalekale Khetheng, a Mosotho male adult of Sebothoane in the district of Leribe and a member of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS). He joined the police service in 2007. On 25 March 2016, my son was attending a traditional feast at his residential village, Sebothoane, in the district of Leribe. About three policemen came and arrested him at the feast at around noon and then drove him to Hlotse Police Station and handed him over to first respondent.
“On 5 April 2016, I and other members of my family, specifically my other son, namely Mabula Khetheng, went to find the whereabouts of my son.”
He says efforts to find out what had happened to his son at the police station in question were in vain.
“I aver to this honourable court that up to date, I do not know the whereabouts of my son, despite numerous attempts to find out where he can be. I have been advised and verily believe the advice of my lawyer to be true that the respondents have no residual power to either kidnap or abduct my son in the way they did, that is not recording his arrest in the recording book of the police. In view of this averment, I am apprehensive that his life is in grave danger or he may even be dead, especially in view of the time period since he was kidnapped.
“He has not appeared before any court charged with any offence and the police have not taken any initiative to inform us about his whereabouts. It is therefore accordingly my right, since he cannot approach this honourable court to pray for the relief sought in the notice of motion, more to enforce the rule of law and the rights of individuals as encapsulated in the constitution and in view of the complications and irregularities traversed above to which I move this honourable court to intervene.
“I aver that it is unlawful and highly irregular for the police to keep a person in custody for this long without charging or taking him to court. I am in an uncertain and devious position of not knowing the whereabouts of my son. I therefore maintain that the decision by the police to arrest my son without taking him to court and or charging him is arbitrary and grossly unreasonable as to be demonstrative of the fact that as an institution it has failed to apply its mind and as such its decision is nullity capable of challenge before this honourable court.”
Advocate Kumalo, meanwhile, told the Sunday Express that the respondents filed their notice to oppose the application on Thursday and that the trial had been set to be heard on Tuesday this week.