A 22-year-old man is accusing the Namibian police in the Ohangwena region of wrongful arrest, assault and denying him access to medical treatment.
Jeremiah Mushunina, who spent five months and two weeks in police custody before being released, claims his rights were violated when he was wrongfully incarcerated, as he is an innocent man. He claims he was arrested simply for being a friend to a person accused of stealing a cellular phone in 2012.
The police have since denied the allegations.
Narrating his story, Mushunina said during the night of 25 August 2012 while at home in Onhuno, Ohangwena and asleep in his bed, the police barged into his room and informed him that he was being arrested because of a cellular phone that his friend allegedly stole from a female victim.
“During the arrest, the police assaulted me with a gun handle, and it resulted in a head injury. I still have the scar to this day,” said Mushunina.
With his bleeding head wound, Mushunina requested the police to take him to the hospital so he can receive treatment, but his request was denied.
After spending five months and two weeks in jail and making several court appearances, the case against him was withdrawn due to lack of evidence, he said.
However, he wanted justice, so on 21 June 2019, he went back to the Ohangwena police to enquire why he was really arrested as his friend who was accused of stealing the phone never got detained. According to Mushunina, the suspect was in Windhoek at the time of his arrest. He also tried to open a case of assault against the police, but they allegedly denied him that right.
“Upon inquiry, they could not come up with any answers. But they told me that the stolen phone was traced in Angola and the person who was in possession of it was killed by the Angolan police,” explained Mushunina.
Due to the police’s reluctance to investigate the matter and give them paperwork for their investigations, he and his mother decided to conduct their own investigations. Their investigations revealed that no Namibian suspect was shot and killed by the Angolan authorities.
“I was simply arrested for doing nothing. I spent all those months in police custody, and I missed out on school. I need them to tell me why they arrested me when I did not do anything illegal. How can I be arrested for simply being someone’s friend? I want justice for what was done to me,” said Mushunina.
In response to the allegations, Namibian police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said the police are aware of Mushunina’s case, but the allegations are unfounded.
“The claims that ‘he was informed by the police that he got arrested because his friend stole a phone’ that is false information. He was arrested, charged and appeared before the court as one of the suspects in a robbery case after he was positively identified by the victim who was his neighbour,” clarified Shikwambi.
Shikwambi said the case was withdrawn pending the identification and arrest of the outstanding suspect who has since fled from the area and who is known to Mushunina because they lived together.
On the issue of the police denying Mushunina access to medical treatment, Shikwambi said the police can under no circumstances deny inmate access to medical service unless it is not reported. Inmates who presented their cases and those scheduled for follow-up are taken to the hospital, almost daily. Thus, he was not denied access to medical help.
“The regional police have acted accordingly, and that status quo will be maintained and or repeated. Unfortunately, the police are always blamed even in incidents where they have performed well,” said Shikwambi.
According to the police, has been advised to open a case and is still at liberty to take that action.