The practice of "provisional charge" in Mauritius

March 9, 2016

I was arrested on the night of 23rd January 2016 and detained for 10 days by the Police of Mauritius. I was brought to court three times during the ten days and yet at non a single moment Police brought forward any evidence. In fact, during my interrogation I was only subjected to a fishing expedition whereby the Police were in search of random elements that could be used to frame me up. At no moment were they willing to hear anything that would prove I am innocent, that they caught the wrong person, that their investigation has taken the wrong direction.

In this whole saga, did the Police really have any element to arrest me? Did the person who signed my arrest warrant verified whether there were enough evidence to justify the arrest?

I am thankful to my employer who published evidence about my presence at work miles away from the alleged “crime scene” whereby an email is said to have been sent. I say “alleged” because Police has not established with any scientific method, proving the source of the email. Police has not critically analyzed any evidence to investigate if any tampering may have occurred. All these while the said case was given utmost importance, called a matter of national security. I was ripped off my rights in the name of national security while I suspect the very basic things in an investigation were not even carried. But how could all these legally happen in a democratic state?

The UK government has raised its concerns about the use of the provisional charge including at the UN International Human Rights Council in 2014.

I read this information guide by the Government of UK on overseas business risk in Mauritius.

The guide aims to provide key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in Mauritius. The information covers a number of subjects like political, economic, busines environment, bribery and corruption, intellectual property, terrorism threat and crime.

While covering the subjects of both “business environment” and “crime”, the guide warns about the practice of provisional charge. Under the business environment section, the following is said:

You should be aware that Mauritius operates a pre charge system called the ‘Provisional Charge’. The police can arrest and imprison an individual on a provisional charge until investigations are completed. It can take over a year for the courts to decide if there is enough evidence for a full charge. The UK government has raised its concerns about the use of the provisional charge including at the UN International Human Rights Council in 2014.

Surely, other countries must have shown concerns regarding this practice and yet the Mauritius Police Force remains obstinate, adamant on using such lowly tactics instead of proper scientific methods in their investigations.

Video interview produced by The Headings

I found the initial reference to the Govt of UK information guide in this email from the Mauritius Internet Users mailing list.