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Fishrot accused fail to stop general populace move

2024-06-11  Roland Routh

Fishrot accused fail to stop general populace move

The Fishrot accused who are not former Cabinet members have lost their attempt to stop prison officials from relocating them to the Windhoek Correctional Service’s general population of the trial- awaiting section. 

Windhoek High Court Judge Boas Usiku yesterday dismissed and struck from the roll an urgent application lodged by the Fishrot accused, who were moved from the C-Section of the facility.

James Hatuikulipi, Mike Nghipunya, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelulo and Ricardo Gustavo lodged the application after they were unceremoniously moved from that section to the general cells. 

Former justice minister Sacky Shanghala and his fellow former minister Bernard Esau were not moved. 

Hatuikulipi lodged an urgent application to interdict the prison authorities from implementing and/or executing the decision, and Shanghala acted on their behalf.  

The judge ruled yesterday that the matter is not urgent, and that the applicants can achieve redress in due course.

Their argument that the decision to relocate them will hamper their preparations for
their trial and irreparably harm their chances to adequately
prepare their defence against the criminal charges do not render
the matter urgent, the judge

“In the present matter, the complaints raised by the applicants about the decision to relocate them are concerns of every trial-awaiting inmate who has been relocated from a single cell to a communal cell, including those who challenge the relocation on the ground that same is illegal, Judge Usiku reasoned.

 He said, “If the matter is enrolled to be heard in due course, the applicants will still be able to prove their case, and obtain substantial redress, should the court find in their favour”. 

Shanghala argued that the general population is not conducive to do research and prepare for their criminal trial, as it is noisy and resembles a raucous circus. 

He said the matter is about the protection of their fundamental rights, such as the right to life, dignity and fair trial. 

According to him, the prison authorities infringed on these rights by placing them in the general population section,
thereby restricting them from properly preparing for the criminal trial.  He said the matter is urgent by the very conduct of the authorities to curtail their preparations for trial.  The judge ordered that the applicants must pay the costs of the respondents on the scale of instructing and instructed counsel. 

Advocate Slysken Makando, instructed by the government attorney, appeared on behalf of the respondents.


2024-06-11  Roland Routh

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