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Police sued for unlawful arrest

Nat Molomo

MASERU — The chairman of the Maseru Region Transport Operators (MRTO), Mokete Jonas, is suing the police for M1 million for unlawful arrest.
In papers filed at the High Court last week, Jonas claims he was unlawfully arrested by members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) during a protest march in August.
He says the police were under the direct command of the commissioner of police when he was arrested during the demonstration organised by a coalition of trade unions and civic groups.
The attorney general is cited as the second respondent.
Jonas is claiming M1 million as damages for unlawful detention and injuria.
He says M350 000 is for unlawful and wrongful arrest and another M350 000 is for unlawful detention.
He is also claiming M300 000 for injuria at an interest rate of 18.5 percent.
Jonas states in his civil summons that during a demonstration in August he was “wrongfully and unlawfully arrested” and detained at police headquarters.
He says he was never informed of the charges.
“The arrest of plaintiff attracted wide publicity as the arrest was done during the period in which plaintiff was part of the constitutional and peaceful demonstration and procession.
“Plaintiff was unlawfully arrested in the offices of his legal counsel while sitting in front of his counsel’s desk and giving him instructions in respect of public interest and civil litigation and in the presence of members of other civic organisations,” Jonas says.
He says the arrest “damaged” his good name and character in that he was made to appear as “a criminal with a propensity to be arrested at all times”.
Jonas claims that a proper notice of demand was served upon and was duly received by the defendants but the police commissioner failed to respond.
As a result, he says, he suffered damages in the sum of M1 million.

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