Thu Dec 08 00:06:36 SAST 2016

Probe roguish cop behaviour

2012-03-18 16:35:30.0 | Sunday World Editorial |

FEW - if any - would sympathise with the three dangerous prisoners who were seriously injured after their botched escape from the Pretoria Central Prison earlier this week.

Understandably so, given the criminal record and the dangerous reputation of the three - Bongani Moyo, Khumbulani Sibanda and Leon Dube. At large, they would have undoubtedly posed grave danger to the public.

Hence their recapture was greeted with relief by many - and especially by Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who convened an unusual press conference in the presence of the three prisoners.

Eyebrows would have surely been raised at some strange moments that followed the foiled escape bid. The minister paraded the convicts in casts, neck braces and bloodied clothes.

More strange was her interview (or interrogation) of the convicts about the breakout. It all appeared as if the country was in a war situation.

Of immediate concern to her - understandably - was the possibility of some prison staff having had a hand in the attempted escape.

Of little concern to her, though, was how the convicts sustained some of their injuries. One of the men reportedly sustained injuries when he was hit by an oncoming car during the escape.

How at least two of the men sustained injuries to the head, legs, neck and face after they were arrested outside the prison, raises suspicion. If the bruises were indeed the result of assault by prison staff or the police, that is most worrying - since this constitutes a criminal offence and the violation of their human rights.

And if so, a law was broken by those who are supposed to uphold it.

For her part, Mapisa-Nqakula seemed unfazed by the prisoners' ruffled condition as she said: "They brought this upon themselves."

Silence on her part over the possible transgressions implies condonation of rogue actions of those involved. Let her probe, not only the circumstances surrounding the incident, but also the actions of those who apprehended the escapees.

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