The Human Rights Commission has expressed disappointment over reports that a named police officer of Mongu subjected three Lozis accused of treason to corporal punishment.
Commission spokesperson, Samuel Kasankha said that three Lozis sustained injuries from being beaten with gun butts, and that his commission would carry out investigations into the matter.
This came to light when HRC visited former Barotse Royal Establishment Ngambela, Clement Sinyinda, and 50 others, detained at Mwembeshi Prison while awaiting trial in connection with the declaration of a ‘Barotseland State’.
Sinyinda is reported as having told the HRC that he and all others were being looked after well by the prison authorities at Mwembeshi, but said three of his colleagues were beaten with gun butts and sustained injuries.
But Kasankha said that there was no need whatsoever for anyone to mistreat suspects or convicts by subjecting them to any punishment.
And the Human Rights Commission has praised Mwembeshi Maximum Prison for improving the conditions in which prisoners lived especially those reports of maltreatment of prisoners in many parts of the country were emerging.
“The Commission wishes to record its commendation to the authorities at Mwembeshi Prison for this positive testimony of their work. These are the kinds of testimonies which we would like to hear from all other detention centres, whether for prisons service, police or any others who may be legally permitted to hold suspects or convicts in detention,” he said.
Kasankha said that such testimonies were in line with latest thinking on prisons that these are facilities for rehabilitating people who have gone into conflict with the law so that upon release, they could fit back into society and live within the confines of the law as opposed to the old principle of using prisons as places to punish people.
And the HRC has commended the government for opening Mwembeshi prison as it not only helped reduce congestion in some other prisons but it was a modern prison with the kind of facilities that go a long way towards matching the requirements set in the United Nations standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.
Earlier, reports indicated that some Barotse activists were mistreated in prisons where they were placed awaiting their case to be heard.