IS SEYCHELLES THE NORTH KOREA OF INDIAN OCEAN?
A young man was hospitalized on Monday evening after sustaining serious injuries from what he says was a police beating. Jean-Paul David, 25, who lost teeth and hurt his right leg in the incident, now says he is planning to lodge a court case against the authorities. The police have launched an investigation in the allegation of police brutality, confirmed Police Public Relations Officer, Jean Toussaint.
TODAY visited Mr David in the D’Offay Ward yesterday afternoon. Speaking through his friend, on account of the heavy swelling around his mouth, he said the incident unfolded at 8:00 pm in Roche Bois, Belonie. A group of 15 people were hanging around the area, when he says a small pickup and a Terios pulled up. Without identifying themselves, police then shot a canister of teargas at them, sending the group running in every direction, he recounts.
Along with everyone else, he set off, straight into the path of two Special Support Unit officers, whom he recognised by their green uniform. As he was about to run past, they slid out their batons and one asked “Why are you running?” Without having time to respond, he says one officer hit him square in the mouth. As he recounted this, Mr David pulled back a bandage, showing a long gap in the bottom row of teeth and chipped upper teeth. “I lost over four teeth,” he says.
Back to scene. After the first hit, he says he kept running, and the police gave chase, beating him on the back. After one particularly hard hit, he tripped near a precipitous drop and landed on some rocks, injuring his right knee. “At this point I stayed down and they eventually left,” he says. After around 45 minutes, he dragged himself to the main street, where some of his friends, who had also been spooked off earlier, picked him up in their car and drove him to English River clinic. He was later taken to Mont Fleuri, he says.
TODAY contacted the police yesterday, who said a communique would be released later in the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive it by the time of going to press. However, in an earlier phone call, Police Public Relations Officer Jean Toussaint said that the Roche Bois area was considered somewhat of a hot-spot for drug-related activity, which may explain the nature of Monday’s late night raid.
From our understanding and talking to government sources, the police have begun interviewing witnesses and the incident has been reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs, with Minister Morgan vowing to come down hard and launch an inquiry if it is confirmed that this was a case of police authority being abused.
Source: Today in Seychelles