FREEDOM SQUARE

For those who haven't yet heard, I am going through another challenging time in my life, a very public one. It is called political persecution and it is deliberately enacted by the powers that be, in Botswana, upon me and my family members. I feel the need to put the record straight.

I had the unfortunate experience of being assaulted physically and held captive of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) for 40+ hours without certain valued human rights upheld by them - especially when remanded to a cell overnight 12-hours in the infamous Tlokweng police station with no regard to my physical condition - having just recovered from surgery.

Despite what they said in a press release, I actually was not allowed to consult with my lawyer OR TO MAKE A CALL except to my housekeeper to request her to place my laptop at the front door for collection.


I was not read my rights, nor shown a charge sheet or any legal documentation about why I was detained, and in fact, was told that I had no rights for a period of 48-hours (although as far as I am aware, I was never arrested). They took my laptop and phone and haven't returned them: though for my cooperation, they offered to return them quickly.

I believe that the condition of the police holding cells in Botswana needs exposure and an *overhaul* . This is the responsibility of the press and public and ultimately the supposedly democratic government.

1. The way women are treated in the cells by female police officers needs some exposure. They are given less care and respect than the men in the same situation. 2. I was not given a blanket and there is only cold concrete in the cells. 3. There is no working toilet in the cell, and detainees are not allowed out to the toilet. Women literally defecate and urinate on the floor barefoot. The hygiene is deplorable as no one cleans this up and there are many detainees without masks. The stench OF HUMAN EXCREMENT is unbearable. 4. Some women are held inside the cell for days waiting at the whim their captors as there are few spaces in the prisons. 5. There is no access to light or running water and in Tlokweng the men have access to the women through the cell doors. 6. Furthermore, I am told that at Mochudi there isn't a proper ceiling over the women's cell so what happens to detainees when it rains? 7. Detainees are treated differently to one another. One drunken madman was allowed a full 2-litre bottle of water and he threw it on me through the cell doors to try and get a rise out of me. Women eat off one plate with their hands. Men are given the majority of plates for the bucket of porridge given. There is no soap and we have to rinse hands and drink without cups from the same outdoor faucet. 8. Some of the detainees had children at home who had been left unattended when they were picked up: ages 3-5 years old. They were begging to make calls but there was no sense of compassion or care for these children by the female police officers, and no calls made to the neighbors to pick up the children. This is inhumane! 9. My consulate were unable to find me or see the conditions I was being held in which is against the Vienna Convention. 10. My lawyers and family were not told where I was. 11. I was only interviewed about 2 hours and not all at once. So why hold me at all when I'm not a danger to anyone? 12. This is the state of things in Botswana. - The once beloved, multiracial, tolerant, caring nation I knew and loved.

Right now, my message is mainly to the youth. I want to encourage you to keep your finger on the pulse of our civil liberties, inclusivity, human dignity, and environmental works. It is important to stand up for these. The elders have lost their fire, and those who would stand together are few. You are the hope for a brighter future and what you build can become a great legacy. But if you are timid about this, it won't accomplish anything. In view of what has happened, please know things are not as normal. I may be changing my social media accounts and will let you know in due course.

Love always, Thea.