Prisoner sues Govt for N$2m for alleged torture

Tujoromajo Kasuto

AN inmate at Windhoek Correctional Facility, Eliphas Gomeb is suing the Ministry of Safety and Security N$2 million, for alleged ill treatment and torture he experienced at the hands of police officers, who he says refused to give him medical attention.

Gomeb wants N$1 million for ill treatment and torture, N$600 000 for constitutional damages and N$400 000 for Post Traumatic Stress disorder in August 2018.

The hearing was proceeding in the High Court this week before Judge Marlene Tommasi and was postponed to 25 February for judgement.

Gomeb says his claim for damages stem from the alleged failure of the Correctional service officials to give him medical assistance on 17 August 2018 when he complained to the correctional officer identified as Hendrick that he had pain and was vomiting and discharging blood.

Despite his complaint on 17 August 2018, he allegedly stayed in this condition for the entire weekend.

Medical records reflect that he was admitted to hospital for treatment on 22 August 2018 and discharged on 24 August 2018. He was taken to Katutura Hospital on 29 August 2018 again after which a diagnosis was available.

The laboratory report reflects that the specimen was collected on 25 June 2018 and not on 24 August 2018 as testified by Gomeb.

Gomeb agreed with the contents of the medical record, but denied that he was at the hospital on 17 August 2018. He could not explain how the date stamp and notes reflect his attendance at the hospital on this day.

He indicated that the officers kept his medical passport at all times. He furthermore denied that he received medical attention on 20 August 2019 before he was taken to a single cell.

He responded to cross examination on the notes in the occurrence book that he was unable to comment as he does not have any knowledge of these entries neither was he privy to this document.

He insisted that the samples were taken on 24 August 2018 and not on 25 June 2018.

Charles Eichab, a correctional officer testified that on 17 August 2018, the inmate was sick. Being the cell captain, he made a complaint to his superiors about Gomeb’s illness.

However, he was never assisted from 17 August until 20 August 2018, which was the last time he saw the inmate before was sent to the single cells.

Another officer Ruben Paulus testified that he was together with the Plaintiff in the cell and no one took him out for medical attention. He stated further that what is written in the health passport and occurrence book never happened.

Barnabas Kahiuoua an enrolled, nurse testified that on 17 August 2018, he attended to Gomeb when he complained of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and a headache.

However, he never informed him that he was vomiting blood or defecating blood stools.

Additionally he stated that the allegations that the inmate was never attended to on 17 August 2018 are lies as he gave him an injection for pain and observed him. Thereafter he asked the Correctional Facility doctor to see Gomeb.

The doctor then referred him to Katutura State Hospital where upon arrival, he was referred to the surgery ward.

Gomeb was placed in solitary confinement in the single cells after he assaulted Ndeutala as a result of the officers not attending to his cry of help.

By Observer