The man who was assaulted to death, allegedly by two police officers, was also choked and his face covered with teargas-filled plastic during the attack.
Mashangu Dludla, one of the five men who were detained with Innocent Sebediela, 45, in the same cell when he was viciously assaulted, described how the deceased met his death.
The men were arrested last week Tuesday for an alleged house breaking at Sebediela’s brother-in-law’s house.
“Because it’s winter and they arrested us in the early hours of the morning, they used cold water and poured it on him after stripping him down. They [choked] him with a chain from a big key ring used in jail. They poured teargas into plastic and covered his face with it,” Dludla said.
He said the unrelenting and violent interrogation on where the stolen TV set from his brother-in-law’s house was, lasted for approximately four hours at the Ennerdale police station, south of Johannesburg.
Dludla said Sebediela had soiled himself several times during the assault. He said after the attack, he complained of pain in his ribs and he had sustained bruises all over his face and body.
Dludla said he was also assaulted, but his assault paled in comparison to the beating his friend received.
“He was a bit responsive after the beating but he lost consciousness and stopped responding. We knew he was dead. The police then moved us to another cell while they removed his body.
“That was the last time we saw Innocent,” he said.
Dludla said although he was charged with possession of a stolen television set, Sebediela was not charged prior to his beating and death.
Meanwhile, Constable Derrick Johnson, 40, and Constable Abraham Dintwe, 33, appeared briefly in the Protea Magistrate’s Court yesterday for Sebediela’s murder.
Their matter was postponed to next week for a formal bail application.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini told Sowetan yesterday that a duty officer had found Sebediela’s wet clothes in the cells, and during an investigation it emerged that he was assaulted and had water poured on him.
“An investigation found that Sebediela had injuries all over his body and witness statements confirmed that he was allegedly assaulted by the two police officers.
“A medical examination confirmed that Innocent died on Wednesday morning,” he said.
Dlamini said the two also allegedly detained Sebediela without registering him in the relevant SAPS registers.
‘‘ They strangled him with a chain from a big key ring used in jail