Police investigate death in custody
THE son of a former diplomat and MP the late Francis Saemala has died in police custody on Monday following his arrest last Friday.
David Morton Sireheti Saemala, 23, is the last born son of late Saemala.
Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast confirmed the death and said they are treating the matter “very seriously”.
Mr Prendergast said the Police Internal Investigation, Criminal Investigation Department and Participating Police Force are now investigating the incident.
He said currently police are yet to determine the cause of death.
“We are working closely with the family of the deceased,” Mr Prendergast said.
“A doctor is currently doing a post-mortem on the boy and the result is still to be available,” he added.
A close relative of the David said his mother is not satisfied with the death of her son and is demanding an explanation.
Last year, Mr Prendergast said incidences of police brutality should be reported to the police for proper investigations.
“If anyone’s got concerns of how police have treated them, they should raise those concerns and we’ll have them properly investigated.
“Police officers are given powers and authority but they have to use those powers and authority in accordance with the law and I can say that where we do have those sort of issues raised, we do investigate them very thoroughly.”
Mr Prendergast also explained the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has very strict guidelines in using force.
“We have very strict guidelines around the use of force and we also have very good training around the use of force and we expect our officers to operate within those guidelines and in line with their training on these issues, so what I would ask is if anyone is being mistreated by police, they should raise that issue with us and we’ve got mechanisms in place to deal with them.”
Meanwhile, the police are asking people to refrain from speculation while they are carrying out their investigation.
In a statement, police say David died in the Central Watch House while being held on a warrant of arrest.
“This is a serious issue but we ask people to refrain from speculation until after the facts are known,” it said.
Relatives of the young man, spoken to yesterday, said they are still waiting for the post-mortem report from doctors.
“The medical report should ascertain the cause of David’s death,” one relative said.
By EDDIE OSIFELO