Retrial of 10 men convicted and sentenced in 2007 for high treason will begin in High Court tomorrow

WINDHOEK: The retrial of 10 men convicted and sentenced in 2007 for high treason after a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from Namibia, will begin in the High Court tomorrow.

The retrial was on 20 February this year set to begin on 16 June 2014.

The date for the retrial was announced when the 10 jailed men made another appearance before High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb during a pre-trial conference of case management on 20 February 2014.

The date for the retrial was decided upon as per agreement reached between defence lawyer Norman Tjombe and the prosecution’s representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Danie Small.

In the matter, the Windhoek Supreme Court on 15 July 2013 ordered the retrial of the 10 alleged Caprivi separatists after they successfully appealed against their convictions and sentences on the grounds that the High Court had been biased against them, and that the late acting High Court Judge John Manyarara should have recused himself from the matter.

The 10 men are Progress Munuma, 46; Manepelo Makendano, 55; Shine Samulandela, 41; Alex Mushakwa, 45; Diamond Salufu, 57; Boster Samuele, 39; Alex Liswani, 47; Frederick Ntambilwa, 45; Hoster Ntombo, 44; and 40-year-old John Ntembwe.

On that date last year, the Windhoek Supreme Court ruled that the 2007 high treason trial against the 10 men must be nullified, and that the matter be resubmitted to the High Court for retrial.

In the High Court matter, the 10 alleged separatists were heavily punished in August 2007 for having played a part in a 1999 failed plot to overthrow the Namibian State’s authority in the Caprivi Region (now Zambezi Region) and attempting to establish a separate State in that region.