Special plea in high treason retrial sees delay

24 Jul 2017 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 24 JUL (NAMPA) – The hearing of a special plea in which seven men are challenging the jurisdiction of Namibia’s High Court to try them on charges of high treason, on Monday saw another delay.
The hearing was scheduled before Acting High Court Judge Petrus Unengu at the newly-refurbished High Court building at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, but could not proceed because the defence and prosecution are yet to sort out some issues.
The special plea is particularly based on a legal point in which the group claims they are “Caprivians and not Namibians” and for this reason, Namibia’s High Court has no legal power to try them on high treason.
The case was postponed to Tuesday as per agreement between State Advocate Neville Wamambo and the accused’s Government-funded defence lawyers Ilse Agenbach and George Neves.
The seven men are facing charges of high treason for their alleged involvement in a failed attempt to secede the Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999.
The seven are Progress Kenyoka Munuma; Manuel Manepelo Makendano; Shine Samulandela Samulandela; Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa; Diamond Samunzala Salufu; Hoster Simasiku Ntombo and John Mazila Ntambwe.
On 22 August 2016, they suffered a legal blow 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.
They are again bringing a similar application before the court when the matter resumes on Tuesday.
Their appeal applications were dismissed by Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb with Chief Justice Peter Shivute, Judges of Appeal 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 last year.
The seven men remain in police custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility until the start of their special plea.