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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Ex-cop tells of cell hell

23/07/2008 23:33 - (SA)
Linda de Beer, Beeld

Rustenburg - A hunting trip turned into a nightmare for a former police officer when he was kept in a crowded cell for a weekend for crimen injuria, along with people who assaulted him and wanted to rape him.

Sakkie van der Mescht, 37, of Rustenburg, North West, allegedly was assaulted repeatedly in the cells.

He said that, among other abuses, he was stabbed in the head with a knife and another sharp object.

His cellmates also tried to rape him, but he fought with all his might to prevent this.

A knife was held to his genitals while the men threatened to cut them off.

After this, he had to sit on the cold cell floor for a long time before his clothes were given back to him, said Van der Mescht on Monday.

Having nightmares

Van der Mescht, a father of two, did not eat or drink anything for the whole weekend.

His cellmates apparently ejaculated in the water that was offered to him.

He said the police visited the cell only once every morning and once every evening.

Since his experience at the end of June, nightmares have been preventing Van der Mescht from sleeping.

His lawyer, Carl Arnold, said they were waiting on the test results for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections because of the dirty knife that was used on Van der Mescht.

On June 27, Van der Mescht was part of a group who went hunting in the Madikwe Trust area.

He was at their camp when two fellow hunters in a pick-up truck were stopped by police.

They were unable to show the licence of another hunter's firearm that was in the car.

After an assurance that someone would go to show them the licence, the police left without taking further action.

Arnold said Van der Mescht and another man drove after the police with the other hunter's firearm licence and identity document, but they repeatedly ignored him when he tried to show the documents to them.

Until March, Van der Mescht had been the police's appointed firearm official in Rustenburg. He works at presnt as a security manger for a hotel group.

Thrown into van

Van der Mescht and the driver of the pick-up truck he was in, stopped at a place where a few police vehicles were standing next to the road.

Some of the police officers apparently stormed at Van der Mescht. The door of the pick-up truck was yanked open and he was jerked out by the arm.

Van der Mescht said he told them he did not appreciate their actions. At that, he was thrown into the back of a police van.

They apparently drove around with him for more than an hour before he was taken to Madikwe police station.

He said: "I was arrested for crimen injuria and intimidation."

Van der Mescht's wife was chased from the police station when she wanted to see her husband on the Saturday. She apparently also was threatened with arrest.

On June 30, Van der Mescht pleaded guilty in Madikwe Magistrate's Court to a charge of crimen injuria, after he apparently was threatened with another seven days in the cells.

Arnold said they were appealing against this verdict which pronounced Van der Mescht guilty.

Regular cell visits

North West police's Captain Aafje Botma said Van der Mescht apparently threatened and swore at the police officer when they were driving next to each other.

She said he was taken to a local clinic so his injuries could be treated.

Police denied they had kept his wife away and said they had visited the cells every hour.

Botma did not answer a question about how a sharp object got into the cell.