The case involving seven police officers who kidnapped, assaulted and tortured a Somali born activist in Bellville in 2010 has once again been postponed. The seven briefly appeared in the Bellville Regional court on Wednesday due to one of their lawyers not being present at the case.
The case has been going on for nearly four years and was postponed at least five times because of excuses made by the accused or their lawyers. The complainant, Mohammed Aden Osman, a member of the Somali Association of South Africa, said he believes justice will be served no matter how long it takes.
Osman said although he has suffered intense trauma during the incident, he has not lost his trust in the South African Police service.
“There are good police officers and there are bad officers but that hasn’t scared me. I work with many police officers and they are good to me, but I don’t know about other Somali citizens….many of them are scared,” said Osman.
On the 30th November 2010m, Osman was allegedly attacked, blindfolded, kidnapped and tased by seven members of the South African Police Service’s Tactical Reaction Unit.
Osman had been walking from the local masjid to meet a colleague when he came across the group of policemen searching two young, Somali men in a road in the Bellville central business district. Osman felt they men had been badly treated and attempted to write down the number place of the police vehicle.
The police officials approached him, discarded the paper and placed him in the van. According to Osman, they drove around the area, while some of the policeman beat him. Osman recalls that one of the officers covered his head with his shirt, so he would not be able to identify them. The activist remembers feeling a sharp object inserted which he thought was a “lethal injection”. Doctors however believe it may have been a taser.
Osman said while incidents of xenophobia may not be regularly reported on, he has seen first hand how corrupt police officials are and how they constantly victimise Somali citizens.
Last week, Somali Embassy reported it was burying at least four of its citizens every week as a result of violent attacks in South Africa. Embassy officials said Somalians living in local communities are accused of crimes daily and fall victim to brutal mob justice.
Osman said that although the case has been postponed several times, he believes that the wait will be worth it when the men are sentenced.
The matter has been postponed until the 19 of March 2015 when he hopes that all the men’s lawyers will be present and the matter would be heard. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)