Thu Oct 27 11:12:25 CAT 2016

Dead suspect's family cries foul

By unknown | Aug 23, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

The family of a man who died mysteriously in custody a day after he was arrested have demanded an explanation from police.

The family of 47-year-old Johannes Puni wants to know how he died.

His cousin allegedly found his body in a police mortuary earlier this month.

Puni, of Bodibe village near Itsoseng township, was arrested for common assault after a drinking spree on August 4.

According to his wife Mmemme, her husband was in good health when he was arrested. He was taken to Lichtenburg police station.

Nothing further was heard of Puni until his cousin, Japie Loving, who works in the police forensic department, stumbled upon his body in the mortuary.

"I was amazed to find my cousin lying on a stretcher in the mortuary when the family thought he was still in police custody.

"He had been dead for three days, but the investigating officers who arrested him did not even have the decency to inform the family of his death," said Loving.

Police had given the family conflicting statements on the cause of Puni's death.

In their report, they claimed he died of natural causes, but the postmortem results show he died of a ruptured aneurysm.

"All we want to know is who assaulted him.

"If his injury was the result of a scuffle at home, the police should have taken him straight to the hospital. If it was inflicted by some of his inmates, where were the officers?" asked Mmemme.

Carina Fourie, Lichtenburg police spokesman, said the police could not comment because the matter was already in the hands of the Independent Complaints Directorate.

"The matter is no longer in our hands.

"We have to consult with the complaints directorate first before issuing a statement," she said.


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