Judgment in main Caprivi high treason trial delayed

WINDHOEK: Judgement in the main high treason trial of the remaining 65 alleged Caprivi secessionists, has been delayed until early September this year (2015).

The judgment, which was scheduled to be delivered on Monday (24 August 2015), will now be handed down on 07 September this year (2015).

The group made another appearance before High Court Judge Elton Hoff on Monday when they were informed that judgment of their case was not ready because the Judge was not able to finish compiling the judgment on time due to other official commitments.

The group was informed about the new date for the handing down of the judgment in court on Monday morning while in the presence of their defense lawyers of Patrick Kauta, George Neves, Clive Kavendjii, Profysen Muluti, Jonathan Samukange, Victor Kachaka, Percy McNally and Hennie Kruger.

The prosecution is being represented by Deputy Prosecutor-General Taswald.

In total, 122 people were arrested and put on trial in connection with the alleged August 1999 Caprivi secession case.

However, 12 of the alleged separatists died while awaiting the finalization of the trial, and 43 were released on 11 February 2013.

The 43 suspects too faced charges of high treason and other related violent crimes with intent to overthrow the Namibian Government and secede then Caprivi Region (now Zambezi Region) from the rest of Namibia in an August 1999 attack.

They were released by Judge Hoff following their successful applications for discharge, which were brought before court in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedures Act in February 2013.

Their applications for discharge were brought before court shortly after the closing of the prosecution’s case in October 2012.

The 43 men were released and discharged of a total of about 278 charges of high treason, sedition, public violence as well as illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, because there was no prima facie evidence presented before court by the prosecution showing that they were part of a group of people who allegedly took part in the failed attack on Government installations in the Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region on 02 August 1999.

However, the remaining 65 alleged Caprivi secessionists’ applications for discharge were refused and dismissed by the court, because the State provided prima facie evidence showing that they indeed took part in the failed attempt to cut off the Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999.

All 122 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 accused persons allegedly took part in the bloody attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station; Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) regional office; Wenela Border Post; and Mpacha Military Base and Airport on 02 August 1999.

They were said to have been under the leadership of former DTA of Namibia president and Member of Parliament, Mishake Muyongo.

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

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

Defense lawyers – Kauta, Neves, Kavendjii, Muluti, Samukange, Kachaka, McNally and Kruger – who represented the 43 discharged men, are still representing the remaining 65 accused men.

All 65 men are being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility (formerly Windhoek Central Prison)’s holding cells with no option to post bail until their next court appearance on 07 September 2015.