The spike in the number of Covid-19 positive cases at the Windhoek Correctional Facility has resulted in a number of court case delays.
This week, the lower court has been postponing a majority of the cases in the absence of the accused persons who are in police custody due to reported cases of Covid-19 at the holding facilities.
According to Namibian Correctional Services Commissioner-General Raphael Hamunyela, more than 100 inmates at the Windhoek Correctional facility have tested positive to Covid-19.
Thus, a majority of inmates are not permitted to leave the facility to make their mandatory court appearances as scheduled. This is one of the measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus at the facility.
Hamunyela added that inmates who have tested positive to Covid-19 have been placed in separate cells. “We are currently carrying out mass testing at the facility and doing contact tracing, so we can be sure who has the virus and who doesn’t have the virus.
We are trying our level best to contain the spread. It does not help when we are walking around with the inmates,” explained Hamunyela. Currently, the inmates are not allowed to have visitors, which also include consultations with their legal practitioners. “We are currently not allowing visitors at the facility at all. We are simply doing this to ensure that we not only protect the inmates but the general public as well,” said Hamunyela. Judiciary’s spokesperson Ockert Jansen explained that the Namibian Correctional Services has engaged with the chief magistrate on the positive cases reported in the correctional facilities. “Consequently, as a responsible entity, we support the Namibian Correctional Services and therefore the cases of the affected accused persons will consequently be postponed on application by the prosecution. It is important to note that, in order to fight the Covid-19 virus effectively, it requires a multi-sectoral approach and support of related stakeholders,” said Jansen.
Infected… A number of inmates have contracted Covid-19.