27 Oct 2016 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 27 OCT (NAMPA) Seven men facing charges of high treason in respect of the failed August 1999 attempt to secede the Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region from the rest of Namibia, have acquired new legal representation.
The Ministry of Justice's Directorate of Legal Aid has appointed and instructed Windhoek-based defence lawyer, Ilse Agenbach to represent the seven high treason suspects following the withdrawal of local human rights defence lawyer, Norman Tjombe from the case on 31 August 2016.
Tjombe, who represented them on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid, withdrew from the case due to other official court commitments at his law firm.
On Thursday, the group for the first time met with their new State-funded defence lawyer during a pre-trial conference of case management review that was handled by Acting High Court Judge Petrus Unengu.
Their case was then postponed to 18 January 2017 for the new defence lawyer to familiarise herself with the contents of the case docket.
Postponement of the case was effected as per agreement reached by Agenbach and prosecution representative, Deputy Prosecutor-General Ed Marondezde.
The seven suspects are Progress Kenyoka Munuma; Manuel Manepelo Makendano; Shine Samulandela Samulandela; Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa; Diamond Samunzala Salufu; Hoster Simasiku Ntombo; and John Mazila Ntambwe.
They are all implicated in a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999.
The seven men suffered a legal blow on 22 August 2016 when the Supreme Court dismissed their applications in which they were appealing the dismissal of their joint application, challenging the Windhoek High Court's jurisdiction to try them on high treason charges.
Their appeal applications were dismissed by Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb, with Chief Justice Peter Shivute, Judges of Appeals Fred Chomba and David Smuts as well as Acting Judge of Appeals Yvonne Mokgoro concurring with the ruling.
However, an appeal application by appellant Boster Mubuyaeta Samuele was successful and he was set free that day.
On 20 July 2015, the Supreme Court granted the eight men leave to appeal the dismissal of their application challenging the High Court's jurisdiction to try them on high treason charges, shortly after the group sent a successful petition to the Supreme Court.
The seven men remain in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility until their next court appearance on 18 January 2017.
Marondezde was Thursday standing in for his colleague, State Advocate Neville Wamambo who is officially assigned to handle the prosecution's case.