• August 5th, 2020

Minister wants N$100 000 for cop brutality victims

WINDHOEK – Member of Parliament (MP) Royal /UI/o/oo has called for the compensation of not less than N$100 000 for victims of police torture, saying being a victim of torture is dehumanising, humiliating and a violation of the country’s supreme law which is the constitution.

/UI/o/oo, who is the Deputy Minister of Marginalised Communities, made this call last week when contributing to the debate on the Prevention and Combating of Torture Bill tabled in the National Assembly by Minister of Justice Sacky Shangala the previous week.

The purpose of the bill, according to Shangala, is to give effect to the obligations of Namibia as a State Party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and to define the offences of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

/UI/o/oo’s call for compensation of not less than N$100 000 is far from the proposed fine in the bill of N$15 000 for an official (police) who is convicted of treating someone in a cruel or even degrading manner.

According to /UI/o/oo, in most instances the police usually bully the poor by way of intimidation, torturing, just to force them to incriminate themselves even for something they didn’t do. “The victims normally give in to avoid the pain inflicted upon them,” he said.

“Being compensated means the act against the victim was totally wrong, thus the bill should ensure that a victim needs to be fully and properly compensated,” he added.

He said it is a known fact that once pain is inflicted upon somebody, he or she can easily incriminate themselves just to avoid pain or arrest.

“Being part of the marginalised communities, the poor in general always experience and feel the pain of torture and they should by all means be protected by our laws,” he said.  Namibia acceded to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on  November 28, 1994 and the Convention became binding on Namibia a month later on December 28, 1994. 

The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture within their borders (including criminalising torture), and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

The bill will apply to public officials, but the reference to pain or suffering in the definition of torture does not include pain or suffering arising only from lawful sanctions such as lawful arrest. 
Officials are specifically trained in the prevention of torture through the prevention of torture training manual for police officers released by the Ombudsman in 2016.

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2019-10-01 07:19:57 | 10 months ago

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