The state has opened a case against six police officers attached to the Oshakati Magistrate’s Court for allegedly ‘forgetting’ an inmate in the court’s holding cells for more than 24 hours.
The situation allegedly led to the inmate not eating for two days.
Sonia Nghituvali Simon told New Era yesterday she was convicted and sentenced to six months on 27 June for assault.
Right after the sentencing, she was taken to the court’s holding cells to wait for the police officers to take her to the Oluno Correctional Facility to serve her sentence.
“I clearly remember waiting for police officers to come and escort me to prison, but surprisingly no one came. When I heard people’s sounds and movements diminishing, I started shaking the cell doors, thinking one of them would hear me. But nobody did,” she explained.
Simon said the incident happened during the winter season, and the cold inside the cells forced her to use two discarded plastic bags for some warmth in the dark cell.
Simon recalls there was also no food or water, and that she had come unprepared because she did not know she was going to be sentenced that day.
The police officers allegedly did not say a word when they came on duty the following day, and again made her stay until 14h00 that day.
“After 14h00, I was taken to the Ongwediva police station, and found that the people there had already eaten lunch. Later that day, I was escorted to the Oluno Correctional Facility, where I found that people had eaten dinner as well. I was left with no choice but to go to bed on an empty stomach again,” she narrated.
Approached for comment, the Oshana police’s regional commander, commissioner Sakaria Naftali, said he was not aware of the incident.
“I see there was a lot of negligence and carelessness involved in the matter, and police officers involved should be held accountable,” he stressed.
Sakaria then urged all police officers in the region to be serious with their work, and to avoid mistakes of this nature.