Trial-awaiting inmates housed at the Echo section at the Windhoek Correctional Facility claim brutal assaults and torture at the hands of correctional officers.
In a petition signed by 30 of the inmates, they claim some of them were handcuffed in the number eight position and repeatedly beaten with batons and fists, and stomped on with booted feet.
The number eight position is where a person is handcuffed at the back with one arm, stretched over the shoulder and one up from the hip.
According to the inmates, the assaults happened on three occasions, ostensibly because there was a suspicion that one of them, Grant Noble, has a cellphone in his possession, a claim they vehemently deny.
It is further claimed that after the beatings, the inmate is thrown face first into the concrete floor, yanked upright by the handcuffs, which are so tight they cut into the flesh, causing the wrists to bleed.
The officers commit this abuse with the consent of the head of the Windhoek Prison, commissioner Veiko Armas, it is claimed.
“This torturous process is repeated until either the perpetrators exhaust themselves or the accosted individual acquiesces to whatever allegations have been levelled against him,” the inmates claim.
They further say the assaults are perpetrated in a corner where there is no CCTV.
Furthermore, the inmates claim, all forms of communication with lawyers, family, local and foreign government representatives; requests to open civil or criminal charges, and requests for medical attention are blocked until the injuries heal to the point of deniability.
According to them, the assaults are orchestrated and physically led by the head of security at the prison, Senior Sakarias.
They accordingly demand the termination of all unlawful conduct by the Windhoek Correctional Facility officers, the opening of a formal disciplinary hearing into the unlawful conduct of all implicated officers, as well as the suspension and removal of all complicit and/or otherwise pending identified personnel pending a full investigation.
According to them, they will have no other recourse but the petition, as it has been evidenced that all their grievances or complaints have been swept under the proverbial carpet, as the individuals listed as the perpetrators comprise the senior management structure of the institution.
“These individuals’ continued presence poses an endemic threat to our physical and mental safety and ever pervasive liability to the ethos of integrity and honesty of the NCS.”
In response to questions sent to NCS, they said the officer in charge of Windhoek Correctional Facility is yet to process the complaint through the relevant channels to the office of the commissioner general for consideration and action.