Prominent lawyer Norman Tjombe will institute legal action against the Namibian Police on behalf of a man who was maltreated after he was found to be violating the lockdown regulations.
The victim could be seen in a video rolling in opaque, home brewed alcohol as instructed by police officers seemingly as a form of punishment. The actions of the police officers in the video that went viral on social media this week have been widely condemned.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Tjombe said what the police did was blatantly unlawful as the state of emergency regulations do not give them such powers.
Thus, he has reached out to the victim and will be instituting legal action against Nampol on his behalf.
“If anyone is found to have violated the state of emergency regulations, such person must be dealt with as normal. That is, the person must be charged and brought before a court of law to answer to the charges. The person will have the right to defend him or herself, just like under a normal situation. Therefore, the courts are not suspended by the state of emergency,” explained Tjombe.
Tjombe further explained that the manner and form of punishment after being found guilty remains as before, not cruel and should not undermine your right to dignity.
“What the police did was to not only be the accusers, but also be the judge to decide on the guilt of the person, and then executed the punishment, which they decided what it should be and then decided on the most degrading punishment,” said Tjombe.
Although during the state of emergency, some rights are set aside, the public still have the right to fundamental rights such as the rights to life, human dignity, the rights to equality, freedom from discrimination, the rights to a fair trial, freedom of speech and thought, freedom of association and the rights of access to lawyers and courts.
In terms of the constitution, no person must be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment or treatment and the state of emergency did not change that, according to Tjombe.
Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga strongly condemned the actions of the police officer in the video.
Ndeitunga said that police officers are not allowed to maltreat citizens who are found in violation of the law.
“Our duty is to arrest the suspects, explain their rights to them but we cannot torture or humiliate them. We need to make sure that we respect their dignity. What I saw in the video is repugnant and should be condemned by us,” said Ndeitunga.