Activists Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Michael Amushelelo were released on bail yesterday after the High Court concluded that there was no evidence indicating they will commit further offences.
Judge Christie Liebenberg said Katutura magistrate Masule Kwizi erred when he concluded that there is a likelihood of Nauyoma and Amushelelo committing further crimes if they were released on bail as they already have pending matters.
According to Liebenberg, Kwizi’s reasoning was wrong as the charges in the current matter differ from those arraigned against them in other matters.
Furthermore, they have not yet been convicted, so they are innocent until proven guilty by the court.
Nauyoma and Amushelelo launched an appeal with the High Court after they were refused bail by magistrate Kwizi on 24 May.
“I am satisfied that the evidence deduced did not indicate that a real likelihood exists that the appellants will re-offend when out on bail… the administration of justice does not require the continued detention of the appellants pending the finalisation of their case,” said Liebenberg.
He said since Nauyoma and Amushelelo mobilise and partake in unlawful protests, they must remember that all persons are equal before the law.
“Whilst the rights of all persons are guaranteed and protected under the Namibian constitution, in a democratic state such as ours, the executive authority oversees and upholds the rule of law. It is not up to individuals to take the law into their own hands. Such conduct is likely to cause lawlessness and must be condemned in the strongest sense,” said Liebenberg.
Nauyoma and Amushelelo who have been in police custody for three months were each released on a N$5 000 bail bond. As part of their release on bail, the court ordered that they would not be within a one-kilometre radius of Chinatown and should not mobilise or get involved in any unlawful public gatherings.
The pair was arrested following their protest at Windhoek’s Chinatown in May.
They were arrested alongside Lawrence Mwatile, Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) president Jan-Epafras Mukwiilongo, Emily Mununga, Annacky Amupanda, Risto Ithikwa, and Amushelelo’s wife Julieta Amushelelo. Nauyoma and Amushelelo’s co-accused are all free on warning.
They are facing charges of public violence and incitement to commit an offence.
The prosecution is alleging they caused public violence when they staged a protest against Chinese business owners, who they claim, are being allowed to sell counterfeit goods.
The protests followed a revelation that the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) destroyed counterfeit goods worth N$5 million imported from China.
The goods were perceived to belong to locals.