A FAMILY of Lusaka has accused police in Luanshya of allegedly torturing to death their 29-year-old relative who was in custody.
A family spokesperson who sought anonymity confirmed the incident in an interview yesterday.
He said the deceased, Julius Mukela, 29, of Luanshya was discovered dead on Monday this week around 19:00 hours in Roan police post cells.
He added that the family was calling for an independent inquiry into the death of their relative to verify claims by police there that the deceased committed suicide.
He further explained that it was illogical for the deceased to commit suicide over a minor settlement he could afford to pay as he was in stable employment.
The deceased was arrested for failure to settle a K500 debt owed to a Martha Sakala of house number 59/4 Roan township.
But Coperbelt Province police deputy commanding officer Byemba Musole maintained that the deceased committed suicide by hanging himself to a burglar door using shoe laces.
Mr. Musole however disclosed that an inquiry file has since been opened and that police had instituted investigations into the matter.
The Copperbelt deputy police commander noted that the police service will not shield erring officers adding that it would not hesitate to punish officers if discovered to have contributed to the death of the suspect.
He further said police were open to private investigations and that they were currently awaiting post-mortem results .
Mr Musole said Mukela an employee of Luanshya Copper Mines was arrested on 17th April, 2015 for obtaining money by false pretences and was scheduled to appear in court on 20th April 2015.
He explained that the deceased was taken to court on the material date where it was discovered that he was left out of the cause list.
“It was during this time that the deceased could have hidden the shoe laces on his body which were later used to hang himself,’’ he said.
Mr Musole however described the incident as unfortunate as no such harm was expected.