Arrested owner of Grande Kloof Boutique Hotel to get damages from police
He had been whisked away by police from his hotel following false allegations that he was involved in fraud and theft.
Allen Tavakoli, an American citizen living in South Africa, said in papers before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that the following three days were an absolute nightmare.
He was cuffed, humiliated and subjected to such ill-treatment at the hands of the police that his health has deteriorated as a result.
Tavakoli was taken by the police from Cape Town to Durban, where he had to spend some time in a jail cell. He was then taken to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Durban.
Nothing came of the charges against him as the prosecution declined to prosecute.
The police never bothered to defend the claim instituted against them by Tavakoli.
Judge Elizabeth Kubushi this week ordered that the SAPS was 100% liable for the damages he had suffered due to his unlawful arrest and detention from November 16 to 18, 2016.
The amount of damages payable to him will be determined at a later stage.
Tavakoli said at the time of his arrest he was embroiled in a multi-million rand business dispute with a Zia Khan regarding a steel deal which went sour.
He regarded this as a civil matter and an issue between him and Khan.
He stated that on the day of his arrest people gained entry to his hotel after they inquired about available accommodation.
Once inside, the two SAPS officers said they were there to arrest him and take him to Durban. They never showed him a warrant of arrest.
This was the start of his harrowing ordeal, as he was “frogmarched” to an awaiting car.
“They dragged me outside of the hotel onto the driveway, emptied my pockets and took my wallet, cellphone and all the cash I had with me”
When he got to the awaiting car, he saw Khan in the driver’s seat.
He said the police swore at him and called him a thief. They also threatened to kill him.
“This is where an 18-hour journey of kidnapping, humiliation, intimidation, verbal and physical abuse started.”
Tavakoli said he was handcuffed most of the way. The police drove faster than 180km/* . Once there, he was thrown into a filthy cell. He was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the cement floor. He woke up with a sharp pain in his heart and he was taken to a local hospital, where he was cuffed to the bed.
The next day, after the prosecution refused to entertain the case, he returned to Cape Town. But his passport showed there was a warrant of arrest outstanding against him.
He eventually had to launch an urgent application to have the warrant removed.