Police Brutality Case Almost Ready for Trial

The trial in which three City Police officers are accused of the murder of a 17-year-old suspect in their care is nearing its start in the Windhoek High Court.

During a pre-trial hearing last Thursday, Judge Christi Liebenberg postponed the matter to February 19 for the State to provide the defence with more particulars on the charges.

Defence counsel Orben Sibeya made the application on Thursday morning and told the judge that he could not do so sooner as one of the accused was in training at the Police Training College in Ondangwa and he only managed to consult with him on Wednesday.

The three officers, Werner Johannes Shitekela, 30, Kleopas Shiikalepo Kapalanga, 28, and 33-year-old Elia Nakale made their second pre-trial appearance before court after their case was referred to the High Court.

They face charges of murder, kidnapping and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

According to the indictment they killed Mandela Ramakhuha, a 17-year-old suspect by assaulting him all over his head and body and handcuffing him and letting him fall down or threw him on the ground causing him to die in the Katutura State Hospital on April 24, 2013 as a result of his injuries.

The charge of kidnapping states that the accused deprived Ramakhuha of his liberty of movement and detained him unlawfully for approximately 2 to 4 hours before releasing him into the custody of members of the Namibian Police Force at the Windhoek Police Station.

The third charge states the accused unlawfully and with the intent to defeat or attempt to defeat or obstruct the course of justice reported to members of NamPol that the deceased must be detained and was drunk and pretending to be ill or unconscious.

They further failed to report to their seniors that they assaulted the deceased and prevented the deceased from obtaining medical treatment, the indictment reads, and it also says they failed to inform his guardians where they were taking him.

According to the summary of substantial facts the accused were all members of the Windhoek City Police who were on standby duty and acted with a common purpose when they collected the deceased from a drinking place on the evening of Tuesday April 16.

They suspected the deceased of having participated in a recent crime of theft of cellphone(s) and computer(s) from the City of Windhoek Head Office, the indictment states.

“The accused loaded the deceased into a pick-up motor vehicle and handcuffed him. Whilst driving around with the deceased in the absence and without the consent of his parents or lawful guardian, the accused interrogated the 17-year-old deceased regarding the theft case and the whereabouts of the stolen goods and an alleged accomplice to this theft,” according to the indictment.

It further states that while Ramakhuha was in their custody, the accused assaulted him with blunt force and was driven to various places in Windhoek.

After driving around for approximately 2 to 4 hours the accused dropped the unconscious deceased off at the Windhoek Police Station with instructions to the police to detain him on a charge of theft.

The police officers on duty however took the unconscious boy to Katutura hospital where he died due to soft tissue trauma caused by the assaults, it is alleged.

Source : New Era