Girl, 13, Locked Up Over Cellphone

PARENTS of a 13-year-old girl are blaming the police for exposing their daughter to dangerous criminals after she was detained for a day on allegations of stealing a cellphone.

The girl was detained at Wanaheda Police Station last week Thursday.

The Wanaheda Police Station Commander, Chief Inspector Josia Shikongo, said he was aware of a 13-year-old girl who was arrested, but that she has since been released.

“I only know of a girl who was arrested but she has been released on parental supervision. If the parents want to lay a complaint, they should just follow the right channels,” Shikongo said.

A social worker at the Woman and Child Protection Unit also confirmed the arrest and detention of the girl, saying the parents laid a complaint which is being investigated.

“The parents were very upset because their daughter was picked up by the police at 01h00 and that it scared and traumatised her,” the social worker, who asked not to be named, said.

The arrest and detention of the girl comes after a report, which condemned the police for detaining children together with adults, was released a couple of weeks ago.

The report was compiled by the Ombudsman, John Walters, after a probe into the death of four-year-old Fortuna Tenete in January this year was carried out. Ironically, Tenete was detained with his mother at Wanaheda Police Station, where he was injured after another inmate, the late Loise Kaambu, bashed his head on the cell floor.

Walters recommended that pre-trial detention should be used as a last resort and that due regard should be given in terms of the time required for the investigation of the alleged offence, and for the protection of society and the victim.

He also recommended that the Ministry of Justice should establish a special court where cases involving minors can be dealt with, without undue delay.

Walters said construction of remand prisons in Windhoek and other towns should be prioritised.

“Cabinet already decided during October 2009 that the Ministry of Safety should budget for the construction of these prisons,” Walters said in the report.

Meanwhile, accused killer and rapist Cowen Libereki, who escaped last month from the police cells in Windhoek, is still at large. Serious Crime Unit Detective, Inspector Zacharia Amakali, called for the public’s assistance to locate his whereabouts.

“He is a very dangerous suspect and we are working around the clock for his re-arrest but I am sure with the public’s assistance we will hopefully find him,” Amakali said.

Amakali can be contacted on 0812499692 for any information that could lead to Libereki’s arrest.

Source : The Namibian