Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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James Kazongo remains in hospital with a broken leg after being assaulted by 3 prison guards. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0528

This morning my Congolese friends and I piled into a car driven by a pastor and drove from Johannesburg to Pretoria, past the biggest building I have ever seen that looks like a mountain and pulled into the parking lot of Pretoria Central Prison. Which detained Nelson Mandela several decades ago, before he was moved 2000 miles south off the coast of Capetown to Robben Island.

Pretoria Central Prison has the reputation of being the worst jail in South Africa. It looks friendly enough, for a prison, from outside. The guards and the receptionists were efficient and working hard; they pushed through the visitors without hostility, without resentment. This morning was my second visit; both times I left everything except my passport and gifts for the prisoners in the car.

Gifts had to be food, drinks, newspapers, cash or telephone time. Nothing could be opaque, or in glass. A stern notice near the reception declared that birthday were banned from May 2012.

After we had first been taken into a room and body searched and each gift searched, we went through passport control, then an xray machine and our gifts through a separate machine; then all our gifts were searched again. Then we walked down, down stone steps, along a long corridor, upstairs past a mural of a giraffe to a waiting room, from where we were called to say that our “offenders” were ready to receive gifts and chat with us for 30 minutes.

Today I went to see James Kazongo for a second time, but he was not there. He had been badly beaten 6 days ago. The men saw and heard the beating. James had asked for telephone time, which had never been a problem. But on May 22, the day before the Congolese 20 were scheduled to go on trial, 3 guards went into his cell in response to his request, and beat him up. He limped into court the next day, and not until the following day, 2 days later, May 24, was he taken to hospital. The attack from the guards was so savage that his leg was broken, and he remains in hospital today, May 28, 4 days later.

I know who brutally attacked James Kazongo. The guards were well-known to the prisoners: Mr Moholo, Mr Moja and Mr Sadike. I call for their immediate suspension from duty and arrest for assault and battery.

The evidence against the Congolese 20 has been fabricated: from one hard-working man after another I have heard the same story. Two white men with documentation and photographs to show they were serious offered contracts and jobs to Congolese men who were mostly security guards, and until the white men started aiming guns at them and demanding they dress in military uniforms and sign documents confessing guilt in organizing a coup against Congo, the Congolese 20 really did believe they were taking part in setting up an anti-rhino-poaching camp.

What distresses me most is that these men do not have legal representation, nor have they had. None of them have had much education, only 4 or 5 of them speak the flawless English needed to assimilate into South Africa, none of them have ever been in trouble with the law. They do not understand lawyers, they do not understand courts, and they do not understand the South African legal system.

Right from the beginning, they should have been explained that lawyers are provided through South African legal Aid for all who cannot afford lawyers. Somehow all the wires were crossed and I was told in Philadelphia that the men did not have any legal representation, and they were told to raise money anyway they could to get it. The wives and relatives borrowed 20,000 rand to hire the first lawyer, who did not bother to show up for the bail hearing, sending only 2 students.

The second lawyer was also given 20,000 rand, which the wives and relatives also borrowed, and on the eve of the scheduled trial date told the wives and relatives he needed an immediate 15,000 rand or he would not represent them. And he did not. He showed up, and yielded the floor to the legal aid lawyer of Etienne Kabila.

Etienne Kabila has a bail hearing scheduled for tomorrow, and in advance of this, wrote to his legal aid lawyer and asked him to work with the paid lawyer who was not paid and did not represent the men.

Kabilagate in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo click here
Congolese 20 await trial since Feb 5 click here
The human faces of the Congolese 20: 20 victims of a massive scam and kidnapping by South African undercover police. MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0524 click here
Rhinoceroses click here
James Kasongo makes the best chips in the world click here
Nelson Mandela click here
Son of Congo pleads for help. James Kazongo in Pretoria Central Prison with 19 more Congolese: in early Feb 2013, charged with plotting coup against president of Congo. MJoTA v6n1 p20130312 click here
Call for prosecutors to drop charges against Congolese 20 and charge the South African undercover policemen who kidnapped and scammed the Congolese 20 and are scamming the South African judicial system. MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0525 click here
Constitution of South Africa


From the South African government website

"The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, was approved by the Constitutional Court (CC) on 4 December 1996 and took effect on 4 February 1997.

"The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. No other law or government action can supersede the provisions of the Constitution"

Congolese 20 were scammed and kidnapped: 16 worked as security guards, one as a chef, one claims to be the son of the late President Laurent Kabila click here
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Twenty innocent men charged with planning a coup against the president of Congo: evidence was fabricated click here

The South Africa Legal Aid lawyer immediately wrote back and told Etienne Kabila that he could no longer represent him, because Legal Aid is for those who cannot pay.

The legal representation of the Congolese 20 is non-existent. They have had 8 hearings, and have not had any defense.

The legal aid lawyer writing to request a third bail hearing for Etienne Kabila claimed that he had nothing to do with the coup attempt perpetrated by the other 19 of the Congolese 20.

Reading his pleadings, I am convinced that the lawyer did not believe the men that they had been scammed and kidnapped and that the entire case against the Congolese 20 is based on fabricated evidence.

And the 2 lawyers paid sums that are far too high for a refugee community with limited work permits and limited opportunities: I believe that both of them took on the case with the goal of limiting the sentence for the Congolese 20 that they had decided were guilty.

The plight of refugees that sought safe-haven in a country that does not want them is grim.

A young man in whose house I have been staying rose at 3 am to travel from Johannesburg to Pretoria on Monday, arriving at 5am to start a line to get his work permit renewed at the Homes Affairs Office.

At 5pm, he was told to come back again the next day. He told me that the 2 workers in the office were playing solitaire on their computers, stopping briefly to process a handful of women and children.

The next day he again arrived at 5am, and finally was processed at 2pm. When he came back this evening he was too tired to lie down.

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