Mozambique: Policemen Arrested for Torturing Alleged Thieves

Maputo — The provincial attorney’s office in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane has detained five police officers who were caught on camera brutally torturing a couple accused of theft.

According to Inhambane prosecutor Pompilio Xavier, cited by the independent television station STV, the group of police torturers was headed by the Chief of Operations of the Homoine District Police Command.

A video of the torture has circulated widely on Mozambican social media. It shows the arrested woman screaming in pain as she was beaten on the soles of her feet. Other officers trampled on her torso, and even stood on her head.

According to Xavier, however, the worst injuries were inflicted on the man, whose left leg was broken.

The torture was inflicted in an attempt to extract confessions from the two alleged thieves. This, Xavier said, was not only brutal but also futile, “since any evidence obtained by means of torture is null and void, and cannot be used in court’.

The Inhambane provincial police commander, Feliciano Chongo, distanced the police force as a whole from the five officers who committed the acts of torture. It was the individuals who were guilty, and not the entire police force, he said.

He told reporters that the five police involved in the torture have been suspended from duty, and disciplinary proceedings have been opened against them, which could culminate in their expulsion from the force.

Criminal proceedings are in the hands of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Xavier said the police torture “disgraces us all’.

“We are not going to do any deals with the torturers’, he promised. “We want to give society a guarantee that we shall go to the limits of the law to hold them responsible for what they did’.