Attorney general investigates Amushelelo demands

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Attorney general investigates Amushelelo demands

Attorney general Festus Mbandeka confirmed that his office is studying the matter in which activist Micheal Amushelelo demanded N$750 000 from the police for allegedly fracturing his humerus (the upper arm) bone when they arrested him two weeks ago. Amushelelo was arrested while attending a protest by workers of the Craft Bistro causing police to drag him away from the scene and arrest him, an action that has caused the activist to sue the police.

“I can confirm that in line with the established procedure, the matter has indeed been referred to our office by Nampol and our lawyers are seized with the matter and they are busy consulting the client (Nampol) for full details and information,” said Mbandeka.

The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters’ (NEFF) member, through his lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, demands compensation from the police for unlawful arrest, detention and assault. 

He is demanding N$750 000, of which N$500 000 is a remedy for pain and suffering, while N$250 000 is for unlawful arrest and detention. Amoomo explained his client supported employees who claimed to be exploited. 

“Our client simply showed solidarity with workers being exploited. That is what led to his arrest. Our client was, however, injured during the arrest, and we managed to get him a medical examination,” he added. The lawyer said the arrest of Amushelelo was carried out without any valid warrant of arrest – and if such a warrant was obtained, it was never shown to his client.  “The subsequent detention of our client also stands to be characterised as unlawful because our client was unlawfully arrested. The fact that our client was released without any charge drives home our point that the arrest was not only without reasonable cause but was also clearly carried out for ulterior motives, contrary to article 11 of the Namibian constitution,” read the urgent notice.

Amoomo said the police engaged in violent conduct against Amushelelo during the arrest.  “Our client was aggressively wrestled and painfully assaulted by members of the police. We have video footage wherein a police officer can be seen assaulting our client, despite the absence of any resistance from him,” he wrote.

He emphasised that as a result of the assault, Amushelelo suffered serious injuries to his arm: he endured pain and suffered, while his dignity was violated.  The lawyer also demanded the identity and full particulars of the members of the police who arrested Amushelelo to cite and institute proceedings against them.

The police are given 30 days to respond to the letter; failure to provide the lawyer with a satisfactory response will result in instituting proceedings against the inspector general of the Namibian Police as well as the government. Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi confirmed the receipt of the urgent letter of demand from Amoomo. She said Amoomo was informed of the police’s way forward which is to thoroughly investigate the matter to establish the merit or lack thereof of the allegations.  “The letter of demand was further forwarded to the office of the attorney general as the representative of the Namibian Police Force in this matter. Thus, no further information will be divulged on the matter,” she said in an email to journalists.