High treason sentencing adjourned to Thursday

WINDHOEK: The continuation of the process of sentencing in the case of 30 men who were last month (September) found guilty on charges of high treason and other related charges, resumes on Thursday.

The process of sentencing was on Wednesday ordered to stand down until Thursday by presiding High Court Judge Elton Hoff on a request by Government-funded defence lawyer Ilse Agenbach to consult with her convicted client-Postrick Mowa Mwinga- regarding his evidence in mitigation of sentencing.

Agenbach is allowed to consult her client for the rest of the day (Wednesday) before the resumption of the case on Thursday morning at 09h00.

Meanwhile, other State-sponsored defence lawyers- Patrick Kauta, George Neves, Clive Kavendjii, Profysen Muluti, Jonathan Samukange, Victor Kachaka, Percy McNally and Hennie Kruger- opted not to call any of their convicted clients to come and give evidence in mitigation of sentencing.

On Monday this week during the first of the process of sentencing, evidence of a video cassette recording material by former member of the National Assembly (NA) and United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Mishake Muyongo was played before court in which he (Muyongo) took full responsibility of the secessionist attacks on Government installations in the then Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region on 02 August 1999.

Muyongo had openly acknowledged in the televised interview that the attacks at Katima Mulilo in which eight Namibians lost their lives were carried out by members of the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA)- a military wing of the UDP.,

During the interview, Muyongo said soldiers belonging to the CLA, of which he was the commander-in-chief at the time, were responsible for the bloody attacks on several Government-owned installations at Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region on 02 August 1999.

The UDP is now totally banned as a political organisation in Namibia.

On 14 September this year, 30 men, including former member of the NA Geoffrey Mwilima, were all found guilty on a charge of high treason and other related charges in connection with a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia.

On the same day, Judge Hoff acquitted and released another 35 men after the State failed to prove their involvement beyond a reasonable doubt in the failed plot to secede the region from the rest of the country.

The 30 convicted men each face 278 charges, including a count of high treason, nine charges of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder in connection with the failed secession attempts.

All of them remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility (former Windhoek Central Prison)’s holding cells until Tuesday for the continuation of the process of sentencing.

State-appointed defence lawyers Kauta, Agenbach, Neves, Kavendjii, Muluti, Samukange, Kachaka, McNally and Kruger are representing the convicted men on the instructions of the Justice Ministry’s Directorate of Legal Aid.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Taswald July being assisted by State Advocate Amize Adams are representing the prosecution.

The 30 convicted men were separately charged with taking part in the attacks at Katima Mulilo, or providing support to the so-called Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA).

The convicts took part in the bloody attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station; the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) regional office; Wenela Border Post; and Mpacha Military Base and Airport.

They were said to have been under the leadership of Muyongo.

Muyongo and many other alleged leaders of the CLA fled to neighbouring Botswana before the attacks and after the Namibian security forces discovered their underground movement before enforcing tightened security measures in the Caprivi Region.

Muyongo and Mafwe Chief Boniface Mamili are now exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back home to stand trial.