Torture in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                

Kingdom of Lesotho

As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector.

The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Lesotho

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Lesotho.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Policing and Human Rights -- Assessing southern African countries’ compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officials

Edited by Amanda Dissel & Cheryl Frank, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum APCOF, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-920489-81-6

[accessed 25 March 2014]


No police official shall, under any circumstances, inflict, instigate, or tolerate any act of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any person.

The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act provides that a confession is admissible once proven to be freely and voluntarily made, but the burden of proof rests with the person alleging torture to prove that s/he was tortured. This Act also prohibits prosecutors from using evidence which they know is tainted by torture or human rights violations, and requires prosecutors to take steps to ensure that those responsible for using such methods are brought to justice. The LMPS Service Charter also prohibits torture, and the Police Code obliges police officers to oppose ‘any violation’ and to report violations to their superior authority.

Despite these national and international provisions and prohibitions, the Ombudsman has noted serious shortcomings with respect to the treatment and detention of suspects. Civil society have also raised concerns that the police use torture and other ill-treatment to obtain confessions from suspects, and a number of media reports and court cases seems to illustrate this point.

Although the Police Code compels police officials to report any abuse by their colleagues, respondents indicated that such reports were seldom made. According to the LMPS Office of Complaints and Discipline, complaints made against police by members of the public are usually investigated by the police. Serious matters, such as allegations of torture are handled by the Investigation Unit Office.

Human Rights Reports » 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [PDF]

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

[accessed 27 Jan 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the constitution and law expressly prohibit such practices, there were reported instances of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment by police.

For example, on July 14, Seinoli Khongoana and Khotso Ramoshabe, employees of Hillside Off Sales Barat Ha Matala, Maseru, arrived at work to find their employer, police, and private security officers on the premises.  Their employer informed them there had been a robbery, and the police asked them to proceed to Lithoteng Police Station to make statements. Police accused them of stealing property from their employer. The men claimed Police Constable Resetse Ramakhetheng instructed them to lie down and then assaulted them with a knobkerrie (traditional wooden club used in herding).

According to the victims’ lawyer, Makhetha Motsoari, the constable also bound their hands and knees together and suspended them between two tables. The two were released the following morning and subsequently filed for damages in the amount of 270,135 maloti ($31,338) each for humiliation, pain, and suffering. The case was pending in court.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

Courts are nominally independent, but higher courts are especially subject to outside influence. The large backlog of cases often leads to trial delays and lengthy pretrial detention. Mistreatment of civilians by security forces reportedly continues. Prisons are dilapidated and severely overcrowded, and lack essential health services; instances of torture and excessive force have been reported. An independent ombudsman’s office is tasked with protecting citizens’ rights.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Lesotho",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Lesotho]  [other countries]