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Seeis cops accused of brutality

2018-09-25  Maria Amakali

Seeis cops accused of brutality

WINDHOEK - A swollen face, bloodshot eyes and a fractured jaw are some of the injuries a 22-year-old man from Seeis says he sustained at the hands of police officers, who beat him up at the village using apartheid-style tactics on Friday.
Robert Daniel Balzer was severely beaten up and waterboarded by three Namibian Police Force officers on Friday after they were called to escort him out of his father’s home. 

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique simulating the experience of drowning, in which a person is strapped head downwards on a sloping board or bench with the mouth and nose covered, while large quantities of water are poured over the face.

Narrating his unpleasant ordeal with the police to New Era yesterday after his release from police custody on bail of N$1,000 at Katutura Magistrates’ Court, Balzer said what the police did to him was unlawful and such brutality should not go unpunished. Balzer made his first court appearance on charges of assaulting a police officer and obstructing or interfering the work of an authorized officer.  

Balzer’s face was visibly swollen. He had hyphema (pooling of blood inside the eye caused by trauma to the eye) and black colouring around his eyes. Not only that, he added that his left jaw is also fractured and he is highly traumatised.
According to the information that Balzer gave New Era, he and his father got into an argument on Friday (he however did not want to divulge what caused the argument). His father called the police to have him escorted off his property. Three police officers arrived at the house. With the police around, he took out a knife from his pocket he intended to hand over to his mother who was also at the house at the time.

When the police saw the knife, they assumed he was about to get violent. 
“They immediately started firing warning shots and told me to put down the knife or they will shoot me. I had the knife because I had placed it in my pocket after we were done skinning the cow we had just slaughtered,” explained Balzer.
He added that police later escorted him out of the house and as they were leaving he overheard them (police officers) speaking of how they were going to assault him. He escaped from them and ran into his father’s room where they followed him caught up with him and they severely assaulted him.

“I told them that they had no right to assault me. To my surprise they told me that I have no idea what beating is. They took me to Seeis police station where the assault continued and I lost consciousness.

“After I woke up, they started putting a hose pipe in my mouth and opened the tap. They were trying to drown me,” narrated Balzer. 

He noted that he was handcuffed and could not help himself during the whole ordeal. “I even pissed on myself from the torture. I do not understand why they had to lock me up if my father did not open a case against me,” said the 22-year-old.
After the alleged torture, the police locked him up and did not bother to take him to the hospital although he was in excruciating pain. 

He allegedly only got medical attention on Saturday after his uncle persisted that they should take him to hospital to get treatment.

“I am going to open a case for police brutality with the help of my lawyer and uncle. I need them to come forward and be dealt with accordingly for taking the law into their own hands,” said Balzer. 

According to him, such behaviour is normal at Seeis police station where the police normally assault the accused persons. “They then try to cover themselves by letting you stay in the cells until you have healed properly from the assault with the intent to cover up the evidence of the assault. After you have healed that’s when you appear in court without the bruises,” said Balzer. 

Confirming the incident, Namibian Police Force spokesperson Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi said the police were called to diffuse an argument, which had turned violent on Friday at Seeis. 
She said Balzer got violent with the police and he had a knife.

“Such an incident could have been avoided if the accused and his father had resolved the matter amicably. It should be noted that policing work is hard and members of the public are cautioned to respect officers when they are executing their duties,” said Shikwambi.

According to the police, although the father did not open a case, the police had to open a case against Balzer because he attacked the police officers while in line of duty.


2018-09-25  Maria Amakali

Tags: Khomas
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