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Remaining treason accused seek discharge

2020-11-03  Roland Routh

Remaining treason accused seek discharge
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The remaining seven treason accused in the longest running trial in the history of Namibia are now asking the court to acquit them on all charges in a section 174 application for discharge.

Progress Shine Samulandela (52), Manuel Manepelo Makendano (66) Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa (55), Diamond Samunzala Salufu (58), Hoster Simasiku Ntombo (55), Frederick Isaka Ntambila (54), and John Mazila Tembwe (51) remain in the accused dock after the Supreme Court directed in July 2013 that their trial start afresh before a new judge after a successful appeal against their conviction and sentences.
Lawyers for the seven men, Ilse Aggenbach and Jorge Neves yesterday argued before Windhoek High Court Acting Judge Petrus Unengu that their clients are entitled to be released as the State did not prove its case against them.

Aggenbach, in particular, argued her clients were never part of Namibia as they only acquired late birth certificates after being arrested and in detention.
Their whole defence has been the accused were never citizens of Namibia and as such cannot be tried for offences committed against the country or local citizens.

The accused were first convicted and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 30 to 32 years by the late Judge John Manyarara in 2007. 
That convictions and sentences were, however, set aside by the Supreme Court on appeal. 
The accused, arrested between July 2002 and December 2003, have been in custody now for the past 18 years. 
They are accused of taking part in a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Namibian government in the former Caprivi region between September 1998 and December 2003.

They lost a special plea they had lodged against the jurisdiction of the High Court to try them as they claimed the former Caprivi strip, now the Zambezi region was never part of Namibia.

They face charges of high treason, murder, attempted murder, sedition, public violence, and illegal importation of weapons and ammunition
The accused were initially charged with 278 counts including high treason, nine counts of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder. 
The charges stem from an alleged failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi from Namibia. 

Eight people died in an attack by the rebel Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) on government installations on 2 August 1999 in Katima Mulilo. 
The local police station, military base, field force base, border posts and the NBC offices were attacked and the State claims the attacks were carried out with the aim to use violence to take over the region. 

The matter is continuing and the accused remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting inmates.
Advocate Laurence Campher is representing the State.

2020-11-03  Roland Routh

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