For Immediate Release
PASSOP shocked that Maitland police station refused to allow assaulted asylum seeker his right to lay charges against Home Affairs security guards.
We were extremely concerned to observe the assault of Zimbabwean asylum-seeker Mr Lucky Dube by security guards at the
Maitland refugee reception centre yesterday morning. A crowd of people witnessed Mr Dube being beaten by three security guards and punched in the face until he was bleeding from a cut on his head. He collapsed (fainted) and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
We were later informed that after he left the hospital the Maitland police denied him his right to lay charges against the perpetrators. The police on duty told Mr Dube that ‘because he had not left the centre when told to by the security guards, he had no right to lay assault charges’. While in fact he was legally bound to present himself at refugee reception centre to resolve his documentation situation.
In response, PASSOP this morning sent our head paralegal officer, Mr Langton Miriyoga, to assist Mr. Dube to lay charges against the security guards who assaulted him. Although he was escorted by Mr Miriyoga, the police again refused to allow Mr Lucky Dube his right to lay charges. Their excuse for this was because his documents had expired – the very reason he was at the refugee centre where he was assaulted.
Refusing the right to access justice is unconstitutional. The Maitland Police’s actions were unlawful and they are acting as if they were in collusion with the perpetrators at the Refugee Reception Centre.
The case of Mr. Dube is just one of the examples of the type of injustices that refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants have to suffer in the face of SAPS officers who are xenophobic, or at best, apathetic to the plight of non-nationals.
We have written to national Minister of Police and will be lodging complaints with both the ICD and the Human Rights Commission. We will also be engaging our legal partners to ensure that Mr Dube will get his right to lay charges against those who assaulted him. We have already been assured that Mr Dube will be assisted by Home Affairs on Monday and we will accompany him to ensure that he is safe.
For comment, please contact:
Langton Myriyoga (0840269658) or David von Burgsdorff (0746602583) Mr. Dube is willing to speak to media – his number is available on request.