Another soldier who had been detained at Maseru Maximum Security Prison for suspected mutiny was released yesterday after the High Court on Tuesday ruled his incarceration was illegal.
Corporal Montšuoe Motseko was initially arrested on 25 June this year but later released allegedly after agreeing to implicate the now late former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao and ex-police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana in the foiled mutiny.
However, he was rearrested after he allegedly revealed he only agreed to incriminate the duo after being promised amnesty and also because he feared being tortured while in detention.
He was among 23 soldiers arrested and detained between May and June this year for allegedly plotting to overthrow the army command.
Brigadier Thoriso Mareka, Lance-Corporal Mohasi, Corporal Mohatlane and Lance-Corporal Jobo have also been released and placed under open arrest after the High Court ruled their continued detention was illegal.
Brigadier Poqa Motoa, Colonel Stemere, Colonel Kolisang, Major Makhetha, Captain Chaka, Sergeant Mokhobo, Sergeant Semakale, Sergeant Lekhabunyane, Corporal Mokhoro, Corporal Letsilane, Corporal Lipoto, Corporal Manaka, Corporal Chele, Lance Corporal Molefi, Lance-Corporal Makhooane, Private Pama, Private Bolofo and Private Ralitlemo remain in Maseru Maximum Security Prison.
On Tuesday, High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi, ordered Corporal Motseko’s release with immediate effect and placed him under open arrest.
Justice Monaphathi said in his ruling: “The re-arrest and detention of the applicant is declared unlawful ab initio. The respondents are ordered to release the applicant from detention forthwith.
“I have considered arguments on both sides and the circumstances and cases cited in support of both arguments.
“I take the view that the continued detention of the applicant is irregular, more especially around the fact that it was contended that his arrest was motivated by his refusal to implicate other military men.”
In his affidavit to motivate his release, Corporal Motseko made damning allegations that he was promised amnesty should he implicate the two men.
Corporal Motseko further stated he repeatedly refused to incriminate anybody when persuaded by Major Bulane Sechele.
The officer further said he had only agreed to implicate the duo and other soldiers to avoid being punished again by his colleagues who had allegedly previously tortured him at Setibing army base.