New twist in male prison rape saga
HANDWRITING experts will be called in to verify if the woman who said she was locked in the male section of Westville Prison for six months wrote a statement confirming that she had orchestrated her lock-up in the cell.
Amaravathee Wilson's lawyer Shireen Soobrathi says the statement, presented to the media by prison officials on Tuesday, is "news" to her.
"We will be bringing this matter up in our court case. The media reports about the statement were the first time we heard about this.
"We must be given a chance to bring in handwriting experts to prove that it is her writing. This issue has been going on for so long, why is it only now that they bring this issue up," Soobrathi said yesterday.
KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner of correctional services Mnikelwa Nxele alleges that a statement signed and written by Wilson in 2003 after an investigation into why she was locked in the male section of the notorious prison was complete.
"As you can see from her own statement when the officials who were working at the prison at the time found out that she was indeed a woman and wanted to move her to the female section of the prison, she threatened to slit her wrists," Nxele said.
Wilson is adamant that she did not sign the letter, saying she was only moved from the prison following her pleas to local newspapers.
"If I did write any statement, how stupid were the prison officials for them to believe that I could have been able to fool them into believing that I was a man. I was locked up with other transvestites, who even though they dressed like women, had signs of facial hair.
"I showed them that I menstruated. Why did it take them seven months to verify my gender? Their claim that I wrote this statement is ridiculous and if I did do it they were very stupid to believe me," Wilson said.
Wilson is asking that the minister of correctional services pay her R100000 for what she terms her"suffering" during her time in the male section of the prison. She claims she was raped, sodomised and assaulted "almost everyday" by male prisoners.
Wilson was an awaiting trial prisoner and subsequently acquitted on the armed robbery, attempted murder and hijacking crimes she was charged with.
Her case will be heard on May 12 in the Durban magistrate's court.