Mom dies in police cell: Family questioning suicide claim

A family is seeking answers after a woman died in Grassy Park police cells.

Suleila Desani, 53, had allegedly committed suicide in the cells, but her family is questioning this.

She was taken into custody after she was found in possession of tik on Thursday and the following day her family was informed of her death.

Her sister Rushana Desani explains: “I wasn’t there at the time [of her arrest]. I was informed that she was arrested for tik on Thursday and she was supposed to appear in court on Monday.

Looking for answers: Woman found in Grassy Park cell. Picture: supplied

“Suleila was found with tik as she was a user. It wasn’t her first rodeo with Grassy Park police. We thought she was going to come out.

“And on Friday someone went to her daughter who was at home and they brought her the news that her mom had just committed suicide in the cells.

“Her children went to the police station, we had to wait for the forensics and the mortuary to take the body away.”

The grief-stricken woman says doubt set in when they saw her sister’s body.

Probing: Sergeant Wesley Twigg. Picture: supplied

She shares: “We got the privilege to wash her body, she had a stab wound, and her body was blue like she was beaten. We couldn’t take pictures due to our religion.

“I know something bad happened to her. I want to know that if she committed suicide, then why did she have all the bruises and who stabbed her? “

Rushana said she has approached the police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to find out what really happened to Suleila.

She adds: “I spoke to IPID and the [Grassy Park SAPS] station commander. All I got was that they are still investigating.

“Everything is kept private. I also would like to know the time of death because I believe the family was only informed two hours after she died.

“We are talking about an intelligent woman here. She was a philosopher who loved writing and she was a mother to three daughters who are all in their 20s and she had five grandchildren.

“We are confused and we need answers as to how she died.”

Police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg says Grassy Park police registered an inquest for investigation after the body of a 53-year-old female was found in the holding cells on Friday, 10 May.

He reports: “The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation. A post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death.”

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