Police brutality hogged the limelight again yesterday after a robbery suspect, Paddington Nakai Kahlari, struggled to enter the courtroom with his legs evidently swollen from alleged torture during interrogation.
It took Kahlari (23) about 20 minutes to cross the floor using a floor mopper as a makeshift walking stick, blood dripping from his swollen feet, knees and hand plus soiled pants before he nestled himself at the far end of the dock at the Gweru Regional Court to answer to three counts of armed robbery. Even the presiding magistrate Joseph Mabeza appeared shaken by the spectacle.
He later ordered the police to investigate the alleged assault and bring the perpetrators to book before remanding the matter to August 12.
Kahlari, an ex-policeman, told the regional magistrate police at the Kwekwe Criminal Investigation Department had brutally assaulted him using a baton while suspending him from an iron bar in handcuffs.
“I was in cuffs, suspended from an iron bar as about six officers took turns to assault me with a baton stick under the feet,” he told the court.
“At first, I felt pain in my legs (but eventually) they went numb. After a while, blood was now dripping from the soles of my feet. There was one police officer, Chatikobo, whom I remember.”
His lawyer, Josinia Maupa, told the court even though his client had confessed to the three charges of armed robbery, the police went on to assault him to a state of disability.
“This is a plea, but the state of the accused is such that it will not be humanly possible to have court proceedings. He is almost in a state of disability and I am not sure of his state of mind at the moment,” Maupa said.
Kahlari was arrested on July 24, but only appeared in court on August 1, after allegedly enduring a week of brutality at the hands of the investigating officers at Kwekwe Central Police Station.
It is the State’s case that Kahlari, who previously served as a police constable in Chivi, resigned and left with his service CZ pistol, which he allegedly used to commit the crime after reportedly teaming up with his co-accused, Harold Muradzikwa (27) and Moses Natare (21).
Muradzikwa and Natare were being represented by Martin Makonese.
State counsel Chipo Matshe alleged the trio robbed Wellington Maguwe of $50 on May 31 at Gondora tuckshop after shooting him in the leg.
They also struck at Nivos Supermarket on June 28 and stole goods worth $500.
On July 24, Kahlari attempted to steal $20 from Clemence Mangwiro, but was overpowered and disarmed before the police were called in.