State prosecutor Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura last week asked Windhoek High Court Judge Naomi Shivute to send two Gobabis residents, convicted on one charge of rape each, to 20 years in prison.
According to her, a crime or offence, such as the one in question, is an act that offends and threatens society; therefore, as a means of appeasing such unsettled society and echoing their voices of discontent with the behaviour in question, the criminal act needs to be punished severely.
“Realising punishment towards criminal acts may firstly deter those that are like-minded when it comes to engaging in criminal activity and secondly restores peace and order in society, circumventing the chaos of people losing trust in the criminal justice system and taking the law into their own hands,” she stated.
In the current instance, she said, the victim was more than ten years older than the accused persons, being of the fairer gender, of less physical strength – and worst of all, she was drunk.
It, therefore, naturally shows that the victim was in no position to defend herself against not one but two attackers – two sexual predators. This, she said, is aggravating. What is more aggravating, she said, was that the victim was no stranger to the accused.
She was the sister-in-law of the accused one – his late brother’s wife. This begs the question that if those in your close circle cannot protect you, then who will?
She said, courts must send a clear message that women should be able to freely and safely move around in their surroundings no matter what time of day or night it is, without being attacked and sexually violated by people such as the accused. Jan Gemeng (32) and Godlieb Rapanka Katuuo (36) were each found guilty on a charge of rape. They were on trial for allegedly assaulting and taking turns to rape a woman at Otjorukune on 17 June 2014.
It is alleged the complainant was at a bar with her boyfriend and two other friends. The accused were said to be in the same bar. They allegedly attacked her while she was walking home alone from the bar. Her boyfriend, who heard her screaming, tried to help her, but the pair reportedly assaulted him and managed to chase him away.
It was further alleged the two accused continued to assault the complainant until she was too weak to offer any resistance, and then gang-raped her. After Gemeng and Katuuo finished with their dastardly deed, they pulled the complainant into some bushes and left her there.The two were initially charged alongside Tjaava Ebson, but he was acquitted by the court due to a lack of evidence.
Their lawyers, Joseph Andreas and Mese Tjituri, respectively, argued their clients are still young and deserve a second chance. They asked the court not to sentence them too harshly, and show mercy. The judge indicated she will deliver the sentence on 26 April.