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I was tortured with hot pressing iron for 23 days for not giving SARS N500,000, man tells Ekiti panel.

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AYOTOMIWA Elegbeleye, a 30-year-old man on Thursday narrated before the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry how the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), brutally tortured him with hot pressing iron.

Elegbeleye said he was arrested by eight SARS operatives in his house in Ikere-Ekiti on January 7,  at about 11:55 p.m. and was taken to their custody where he was repeatedly tortured.

He said he was beaten with a rod while the officers allegedly tortured him with pressing iron for 23 days over his failure to offer N500,000 requested for him to be released.

Elegbeleye, who was reportedly brought from the Correctional Centre, showed members of the panel the injuries he sustained from the hot pressing iron when he was in their custody.

“I was arrested by the SARS operatives around 11:55 p.m. at my house in Ikere-Ekiti without telling me the crime I committed. That night, I was taken to their office, they beat and tortured me with pressing iron that I should confess being an armed robber.

“I was also beaten up with a rod. I gasped for breath begging them to release me but they said I would only be released with payment of N500,000.

“After 23 days in their custody and with serious bodily injuries, they took me to the police hospital in Oke-isa when they felt I might die due to my worse health condition.”

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He said he was never involved in any criminal activities, pleading that the judicial panel should investigate his case with a bid of releasing him from the prison.

“I have come to the judicial panel for them to assist me in getting justice from this suffering I am passing through for an offense I don’t know anything about and I need urgent medical attention now because I am having serious difficulty in breathing due to the manner I was beaten by the SARS officers,” he said.

The counsel to the police, however, said a case of the alleged conspiracy, murder and armed robbery against the man is currently before the State High Court.

But counsel to the man argued that his client is before the judicial panel to seek justice over the brutality he suffered in the hands of the SARS operatives.

The Anti-torture Act 2017 guarantees the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment a non-derogable right, criminalizing torture and protecting victims and witnesses of torture.

Justice Cornelius Akintayo, Chairman of the judicial panel, however, adjourned the matter till December 3 for the continuation of hearing, calling on the parties to present their witnesses on the adjourned date.

'Niyi works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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