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State opposes bail for MP, ‘protestors’

2023-03-24  Roland Routh

State opposes bail for MP, ‘protestors’

Roland Routh 

Aletta Shikololo


Public prosecutor Victoria Thompson yesterday opposed bail for Michael Amushelelo, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and PDM member of parliament Inna Hengari.

Amushelelo and Nauyoma were arrested during a protest march against youth unemployment on Tuesday. Hengari was arrested at a police station when she went to enquire about the reasons for the duo’s arrest.

They are facing charges of public violence, and malicious damage to property while Amushelelo and Nauyoma face charges of violating a court order. They were previously released on bail on similar charges relating to the Chinatown Shopping Complex incident and one of the conditions of bail was that they are not to be charged with public violence. Thompson told magistrate Linus Samunzala that the State opposes bail on the grounds that the accused persons have a propensity to commit similar offences and the investigations are ongoing. She proposed that the matter be postponed to 29 March for further investigations. Before Thompson read the charges to the accused, lawyer Milton Engelbrecht on behalf of Nauyoma, lamented the fact that the defence was not provided with the charge sheet before the commencement of proceedings. 

According to him, they could not advise their clients as there was no clarity on the charges they face. He further told the court that he reserves the right to bring an urgent bail application before Kadhila Amoomo for Amushelelo informed Samunzala that they have arranged with magistrate Suritha Savage to have the bail hearing today. Messe Tjituri, on behalf of Hengari, also lamented the fact that they did not receive the charge sheet ahead of the start of the proceedings. 

He asked the court to have the accused informed of the charges they face before he makes any submissions. Thompson then read the charges and the accused all indicated they understand the charges. He then indicated that he does not know why the State opposes bail for his client, as she has no pending cases. Amoomo also told the court that the issue of further investigations is a lame excuse by the State as they provided the investigating officer (IO) video material on a USB on what transpired, but that the IO refused to accept it. All of them said they are ready to proceed with bail application.  

The secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia, Mahongora Kavihuha entered the fray by accusing the Namibian government of fostering a “modern-day police dictatorship”.

“They are fostering the police dictatorship where the dictator does not allow any dissent and ensure that everyone agrees with them. They undermine all dissent especially political and curb popular political freedom of expression by individuals,” Kavihuha said when addressing the media yesterday in Windhoek.

He added, “we should never misquote this situation where we isolate the police from the entire State machinery.”

The leader of the PDM, McHenry Venaani, also demanded the release of the trio at the Katutura Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

“The law used to arrest these people is an apartheid law that was used during school boycotts in this country. The conversation should be what is it that we are going to do about youth unemployment in this country,” he said.

The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) wrote a letter yesterday to Inspector General Joseph Shikongo informing him to address his officers to refrain from unleashing unwarranted force and intimidation on peaceful protestors.

“We observed that there is a constant trend of police brutality and intimidation by the police force, especially during demonstrations. This behaviour is tantamount to old apartheid tactics, where black people were physically attacked and intimidated by the white police colonisers,” the letter reads.

2023-03-24  Roland Routh

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