Treason Suspects Were Tortured – Ndeitunga

The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force, Sebastian Ndeitunga, yesterday admitted that some of the suspects in the protracted Caprivi high treason case endured the worst forms of torture.

Ndeitunga spoke about the torture of some of the Caprivi high treason suspects when he diverted from the prepared speech he delivered at a gathering in Windhoek themed: “Towards promoting human rights project: prevention of torture by police”.

“People should know that torture could be in any form. It does not only mean physical torture but can be emotional as well,” he said, adding that police officers are not the only transgressors, as people not in uniform can also be transgressors. “Therefore we should educate and make people aware to report these issues so that they can be tackled,” Ndeitunga further said.

“It is disheartening to hear of incidents where police officers are accused of torture, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment of citizens, when the primary rationale of the police is to protect life and property,” the Inspector-General remarked at the event held at a city hotel.

He cited the Caprivi cessation attempt as being one of the country’s worst recorded incidents where torture and maltreatment occurred.

Meanwhile, Ndeitunga has called for stricter regulations to control some lawyers who intimidate, threaten and harass witnesses testifying against their clients and this harassment prompts some witnesses to refrain from reporting some of the crimes.

Ndeitunga says there should be regulations to govern how lawyers talk to witnesses, as they tend to scare witnesses who feel they are interrogated and threatened when on the witness stand.

He made these remarks yesterday at the launch of the “prevention of torture project” organised by the Office of the Ombudsman in conjunction with the Embassy of Germany, in an effort to educate, raise public awareness and train police to perform their duties without torture.

The Germany Embassy spent N$500 000 towards the project.

“In compliance with Article 10 of the Convention Against Treatment or Punishment, we will ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition of torture is more comprehensively included in the training of police officers who may be involved in the arrest, detention, interrogation or treatment of members of the public,” stated Ndeitunga.

Ndeitunga assured that “those who were responsible were taken to task because torturing and inhuman practices are not allowed in our independent country, it is no longer the colonial times where people were tortured, detained and some even disappearing”.

In the same vein, he announced that the Namibian Police Force is working with the central government on establishing remand cells in all regions, as police cells are “triple full”.

“Our request is to build remanding cells in all regions so that those that are still awaiting trial can be accommodated there and those that are arrested within 24 hours and waiting to appear in court. This will reduce congestion in the police cells as some cells are three times full, which infringes upon their human rights and is unhygienic,” stated the police chief.

Source : New Era