3 January 2018

Namibia: Police Forget Pregnant Woman in Court Cells

A FOUR-MONTHS pregnant woman who was allegedly locked up and forgotten in deplorable conditions for three days at the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in Katutura, claims she miscarried as a result of the experience.

Police arrested Marcelina Gaingos (34) on Friday, 8 December 2017, after she allegedly contravened a restriction order against her taken out by her half sister.

Gaingos alleges that the police locked her up in a cell in which she slept on the cold, dirty floor without water or food for three days.

She was only released when her family and the /Khomanin Traditional Authority councillor, Verona !Kharuxas, intervened.

On 10 December, Gaingos was taken to Katutura Intermediate Hospital for treatment.

!Kharuxas said Geingos, "was too traumatised to talk, weak from hunger and was shaking".

She said police took Gaingos back into custody on the same day and held her at Klein Windhoek Police Station and only released her on Tuesday, 12 December, without any charges.

Gaingos said yesterday she went to a doctor on 21 December, almost two weeks after the ordeal, for a check-up and was informed that her baby had died.

"The doctors say it was due to the cold and dehydration," Gaingos said. The Namibian yesterday could not independently verify whether Gaingos' miscarriage was due to the conditions of her imprisonment.

Katutura Police Station commander, Tjitekulu Philemon could also not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, a police source confirmed to The Namibian that they were aware of Gaingos' case and that she had not opened a case against the police.

Gaingos' sister, Cencelina Gaingos (31), said what happened to her sister had been unnecessary and that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Her mother, Engelbertine Auchas, who travelled from her Khorixas farm to be with her daughter, described the episode as shocking.

"When I heard of her arrest I thought of the time I was pregnant with her and worried whether she was being treated well. I was so sad. No one knew her condition. I thank God he kept her well," she said.

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