Police say their main role is ‘preservation of life’ as they review detainee policy
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Police Force has announced that it is in the process of reviewing its procedures and protocols for the handling of detainees placed in holding cells.
A press statement was issued by the police yesterday in response to allegations of the mistreatment reported by a female detainee that were published yesterday in daily local newspaper ‘Today in Seychelles’. The woman from Barbarons, who did not wish to be named, was detained last Saturday at the police station in Port Glaud on the main island of Mahé after an altercation with her neighbour.
The woman says she was stripped naked by a female police officer after apparently threatening to commit suicide; treatment she claimed was humiliating and degrading.
According to the report published in the 'Today in Seychelles' newspaper, when a female police officer asked her to remove her jewellery, the woman said she “…started crying asking them to release me because I had done nothing wrong. I said I felt so wretched I could kill myself but I obviously didn’t mean this…”
The incident reportedly occurred two days after a 38-year-old woman from Praslin allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself with her underwear while in detention in a police station cell on Praslin, the second most populated island of the Seychelles.
Police spokesperson Jean Toussaint has said that the Seychelles Police Force have launched an inquiry into the events of the night of June 28.
“While this report is being investigated, the police said that they are in the process of reviewing their procedures and protocols with regards to the detention of offenders,” said Toussaint in the press statement.
While the police have not denied that the woman did indeed spend the night in the holding cell without clothing, they have denied that she asked for a lawyer at any point during the night.
According to Toussaint, the officer in question, who was a corporal and not an inspector as reported by 'Today in Seychelles', said that she felt it would be unwise to release the lady, fearing that doing so may have resulted in another fight between the neighbours and possibly even loss of life.
“The officer also said that she also considered the fact that they were only women officers on duty that night and there was no male officers present while the lady was being detained,” said the police spokesperson, adding that one of the police’s main roles was the preservation of life.
Toussaint said that the police will react strongly against what he termed “new trends” being developed by offenders, claiming that they put pressure on the police by “coming with all sorts of threats when they are arrested”.