Tenete’s Death Triggers Public Hearings

THE chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender, Youth, Information and Communication Technology , Germina Shitaleni, last week described the death in a police cell of the four-year-old Fortuna Tenete in January 2014 as a national blunder.
The fight over tea between Tenete’s mother Kaarina Mateus (29) and another inmate Loise Kaambu in a holding cell at Wanaheda police station led to the tragic death of the boy.
Fortuna died at the Katutura Hospital of the severe injuries he sustained when Kaambu allegedly smashed his head against the cell floor.
Shitaleni made reference to Tenete’s death to explain to the public at Keetmanshoop yesterday what had prompted the hearings being held across the country to investigate the number of deaths in prison and police holding cells.
“We cannot have such incidents 24 years after independence. They have rights even if they are prisoners,” Shitaleni remarked.
In his testimony at yesterday’s public hearing, which was marred by a low public turnout, Police deputy Commissioner Rudolf Isaak said no incidents of people dying in police cells had been reported in Karas Region since independence. According to Isaak, police in Karas in consultation with state prosecutors arrange bail for pregnant suspects or those with infants to prevent such tragedies happening in police holding cells. “We even release some on warning, depending on the severity of the crime they are being accused of having committed,” Isaak added.
He said police also have a special shelter where women who come to report cases of domestic violence late in the night are being accommodated overnight.
“We don’t want them to go back to the house because of the risk of being assaulted again on their return,” Isaak added.

Source : The Namibian