Afrikaners tortured, killed by SAPS

Afrikaner security-technician Riaan Petrus Velloen, 37, killed by SAPS in custody,  Florida police cells, Roodepoort S.Africa – nobody charged – police offers no ‘regrets’ nor ‘condolances’ to the grieving family…

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2010-11-29 Amanda Roestoff of Beeld newspaper reports that 37-year-old Afrikaner security-camera technician Riaan Petrus Velloen was beaten up so brutally by the Florida police in Roodepoort that the healthy man died in the police cells within just hours. There were no charges against Velloen when he died in police custody, said his mother-in-law Mrs Ria Hogan, 50, grand-mother of his son Kevin Hogan, 15.

“Police claim he was drunk but he was not a drinker. We don’t know why he was arrested and there have been no formal charges lodged through the charge office,’ she said. She said her daughter received a phone call from Riaan’s sister – who informed him that he was beaten to death in the police cells. SAPS spokesman Lt.col. Lungelo Dlamini indeed confirmed that Velloendied while in police-custody and that a ‘murder-dossier was opened to investigate ‘the incident’. Hogan said the family have no idea where he was arrested, or why.

“It’s so heart-sore, because he was a kind, loving man who always tried to make you happy even if he had to put his own needs last. The police should be there to protect people – one cannot trust them any longer.’

His son Kevin was devastated about his father’s death. “He always listened to everything I ever told him and I will miss all the special things we did together. Velloen’s remains have not yet been released for burial because the investigation has not been completed. The SAPS ‘would not say whether any of the arresting officers would be criminally charged or prosecuted in an internal hearing”.

They also did not offer their condolances nor regrets to the family. http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Man-dood-in-selle-na-polisie-glo-aanrand-20101128

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566 Deaths in Police Custody in first 11 months of 2010:

SAPS 566 DEATHS IN DETENTION 2010 SOWETAN_thumb[4]

566 people have died in SAPS custody from Jan to Nov 28 2010.

Throughout the entire apartheid-era no more than 75 people died in police-custody throughout the period between 1963 and 1994.

Official reports – deaths in police custody during apartheid:

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  • Afrikaans farmer Willie Nel of Hammanskraal awarded R500,000 damages, wife Ester Nel R140,000. Adv Marius Bouwer, then-operational commander of the SAPS anti-corruption unit, awarded R205,000 in damages by Pretoria High Court  – all  for false arrests and vicious beatings in SAPS custody, Nov 23 2010:

AFRIKANER FARMER WILLIE NEL AWARDED R500D FOR SAPS TORTURE BOEREMAGCLAIM DEC2002

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article777533.ece/Police-to-pay-for-torture

http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2010/09/27/claims-of-torture-attacks-by-cops

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ALZHEIMER SUFFERER JAMES BROWN BEATEN TO DEATH IN KRIEL SAPS CELL – NOBODY EVER CHARGED:

Brown James 98 Alzheimer sufferer arrested for forgetting to pay for chocolate bar KRIEL SAPS beaten to death in cell_thumb[2]

BrownJamesbeatentodeathKrielPoliceSt_thumb[2]

TWO PICTURES ABOVE: June 9 2009 – deniseryan@mweb.co.za sent around an internet petition, demanding anvestigation into the deeply mysterious death of Kriel old-age pensioner James Brown in a cell of the local police station . The TV programme Third Degree, broadcast by ETV in South Africa, showed these pictures of the late Mr James Brown, a 09-year-old Afrikaner and also an Alzheimer’s sufferer,  who was arrested at the Shoprite supermarket in Kriel – for ‘taking a chocolate bar without paying for it’. Ryan writes: “The old man was assaulted,  beaten and sprayed with pepper spray by the police officers who arrested him without any probable course for their behavior towards him – the old man did not resist arrest and the police officers were never in any danger from him at any stage. This old man did not know he was doing anything wrong because he was an Alzheimer’s sufferer – his doctor said his physical health was good, but he did suffer from Alzheimer.  “After his arrest, his civil rights were also violated  because he had nobody to assist him and his right to a phone call was not presented to him otherwise he could have been assisted by a family member or attorney.  “He died within  four hours of custody at the Kriel police station. This is what he looked like after four hours in a police cell – alone . Relatives questioned the reason for the (clearly fresh) FATAL head wound to the back of his head because the footage on the CCTV which showed his arrival at the Shoprite in Kriel, proved that he ‘d had no injuries at all. “ http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-did-this-alzheimer-sufferer-die-in.html

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SAPS TORTURED AFRIKANER FARM FAMILY MALHERBE with CATTLE-PRODS, PLASTIC-BAG CHOKING TORTURE IN POTGIETERSRUST, JAN 28 2010

Heavily armed men in police uniforms who showed up in police vehicles tortured an Afrikaner farm family in Mokopane/Potgietersrust on January 28 2010 – tied them up, covered their heads in plastic bags and shocked them with cattle-prods. Injured were Okkie Malherbe (63) wife Emmerentia (53), of the Olem farm on Doelen, and watched by their little granddaughter Kaycee, 5. Malherbe’s son WD, 34 said the attack took about two hours. The family had opened the door to their torturers because “they thought they were police officers”. Investigations found later that the attack-gang had indeed been members of the SAPS after investigators checked the police-vehicles’ number plates. [Source: Polisielede roof, skok boer en sy gesin, Beeld, 2010-01-28. Beeld newspaper claimed they were ‘bogus cops’. URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26063669/

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Deaths in SA prisons often due to torture by officials:

Nov 29 2010 – CAPE TOWN PARLIAMENT. The portfolio committees of correctional services and public works held a joint hearing about the ‘fruitless, wasteful expenditure on the building of new facilities” and “the torture of prison inmates at the hands of officials”.

In one such unnatural death, a number of officials were charged with culpable homicide when an inmate was killed during a mass assault on prisoners by officials, yet only one was found guilty. He was dismissed. Charges against the others were withdrawn. The MPs wanted to know why they had not been charged with murder, and were told that the police would be investigating the criminal charge against the dismissed official.

They also queried the inhumane treatment of inmates who ended up killing themselves. In one case, an inmate was locked in a cell that had no lights and, in another, an inmate who said he had been raped was found hanged in the shower area of the cell. There had been “a delay in transferring him to a rape centre, allegedly because there was no transport available”. The nurses who failed to examine the man were acquitted in a disciplinary hearing, and the officials who failed to arrange his transport to a rape centre were given a final warning. The MPs were unhappy with the lack of action against errant prison officials.

A number of extremely worrying trends have been found during an investigation into 55 unnatural deaths in prisons in 2009. The Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative said one of the “top concerns” was that despite guilty findings at discliplinary hearings,  not one correctional services official had been prosecuted in a criminal court in any of the unnatural death cases.

This was despite disciplinary internal enquiries finding them guilty of offences such as gross negligence and excessive use of force. “Of topmost concern is that in not one of the 55 cases has a single Department of Correctional Services (DCS) official been prosecuted yet,” the Initiative said.

  • “It is rare that officials are dismissed following the death of a prisoner.”

The CSPRI – a project of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape – said it had analysed a report by the Judicial Inspectorate which provided details of 55 “unnatural deaths” in 2009. “The CSPRI has analysed the data, discovering a number of extremely worrying trends.”

Deceased often brutally assaulted by officials:

It said in many of the cases, the deceased had been brutally assaulted by officials with batons, electric shields and booted feet. The official had then failed to provide “adequate and timeous” medical attention.

Nothing more than murder

In one case, involving the death of a 59-year old prisoner at Ebongweni Maximum Security Prison in Kokstad, an independent pathologist had found “death consistent with smothering” or an obstruction of mouth and nose.

  • “The incident happened on August 9 2009 and according to the inspectorate, no action has been taken by the DCS nor has the investigation by the police resulted in anything,” the CSPRI said.

The prisoner, known only by his initials ‘RT'”, must have died a horrible death – first severely beaten and then suffocated. This is nothing more than murder and all officials implicated should be prosecuted and punished accordingly.”

55% were suicides…

Other trends apparent from the 2009 Judicial Report indicated that 55% of the deaths were suicides. In a significant proportion of these, the prisoner was a known as a suicide risk. Despite this, “The DCS failed to take effective measures to prevent the suicide,” the CSPRI said.

  • “In nearly 65% of the 55 cases, the DCS had not taken any action against its officials although there is evidence indicating liability.”

Investigations by the police in the deaths of prisoners seldom progressed to a stage where a docket was handed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“The CSPRI is of the view that when a person dies in state custody, the state is liable until the matter has been properly investigated by independent and competent authorities and the findings indicate the contrary.

“In meeting its obligations under the UN Convention against Torture, South Africa is obligated to investigate promptly wherever there are reasonable grounds to believe that an act of torture or ill treatment has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.”

Poor, delayed and uncompleted investigations fostered a culture of impunity within the DCS, the CSPRI said. http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Worrying-trends-in-prison-deaths-20101118

 

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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