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[Blog] Open letter to the Honourable Prime Minister 

Clifford Esther

42 years of injustice: A plea for some form of reparation to Clifford Esther, victim of a brutal police blunder in 1982


Dear Prime Minister,

On the fateful day of 5 March 1982, a young man was brimming with life. He was a good football player, a talented hotel singer, an accomplished musician and was looking to the future with great hope, enthusiasm and undiluted optimism. Life was smiling to him. He was with his German fiancée and some friends, having a nice time in a bungalow at Rivière Noire. 

Suddenly, at dawn , in the wee hours of the morning, a bunch of policemen, armed to the teeth and accompanied by dogs, barged into the bungalow and brutally snatched them from the arms of Morpheus. One of them, mistaking the young man for someone who had allegedly killed a policeman while committing a hold-up at CEB headquarters, Curepipe, lunged towards him and detonated his pistol in his mouth. The young man fell down in a pool of blood. Later he was rushed to the hospital where he remained in coma for several days. When he woke up, he became disabled for life.

This young man was Clifford Esther. His whole life has been mangled by a devastating police blunder. His dreams, his aspirations, his hopes, his talents and zest for life were blown to pieces in a morbid instant. He was not only a victim of mistaken identity but also a victim of miscarriage of justice. The policemen were absolved of their blunder and poor Clifford was left befuddled, broken, bereft of justice, hope and happiness. Darkness enveloped him for the rest of his life.

Today , Clifford is 65 years old. All these years he has been clamoring for justice. He has been knocking at doors and domains, pleading that the injustice be recognized, that his dignity be restored and justice be meted out to him. Up to now there have been promises galore but nothing concrete.

The Committee for Justice to Clifford Esther is making an earnest appeal to the Honourable Prime Minister to consider the possibility, on a purely humanitarian basis, to provide some form of reparation to Clifford Esther. We know that no amount of money can compensate for the losses, suffering, pain, bitterness and humiliation of a lifetime. But at least, if at the twilight of his life and the fag-end of his existence, he is able to get some solace so that when the time comes to close his eyes forever, the tears, wounds and bitterness are wiped out.

We live in a so-called civilized society, anchored in the respect of human rights. Let the right of Clifford Esther be vindicated and the light of justice illuminate the remaining years of his life through a fair and just compensation, however symbolic it is.

[Azize Bankur, on behalf of Committee for Justice to Clifford Esther] 


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