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Prison torture merely ‘an allegation’ – Zach Modise

An increase in torture in prisons was merely an allegation, acting national correctional services commissioner Zach Modise told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

“The department of correctional services has come under fire in Parliament for the increase in torture cases,” Barry Roux, for paralympian Oscar Pistorius, told Modise.

He was reading from a report in The Star from Wednesday, on Modise’s presentation to Parliament this week.

“My Lady, there is this allegation,” Modise replied.

Roux was cross-examining Modise, who earlier testified for the State during sentencing proceedings for Pistorius, found guilty last month of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel earlier questioned Modise to deal with concerns raised by a social worker, who had testified for the defence, that there were not adequate facilities in prison for disabled people, and that Pistorius would not be safe.

“There should be no doubt that Mr Pistorius, or any other accused with a disability, shall be accommodated properly,” Modise told Nel.

He referred to South Africa successfully deporting honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani from the UK to stand trial in Cape Town.

“There are places where we can accommodate people like Mr Shrien Dewani who feel very vulnerable.”

On September 12 Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of the culpable homicide of model and law graduate Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder. Pistorius had claimed he thought there was a burglar in his toilet when he fired four shots through the locked door in the early hours of February 14 last year, killing Steenkamp.

Masipa found Pistorius guilty of discharging a firearm in public, when he shot from his friend Darren Fresco’s Glock pistol under a table at Tasha’s restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

Pistorius was found not guilty on two firearms-related charges – illegal possession of ammunition, and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

– Sapa

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