03 Sep 2018 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 03 SEP (NAMPA)- The retrial of seven men convicted and sentenced in 2007 for high treason after a failed attempt to secede the then-Caprivi Region (now Zambezi Region) from Namibia, will begin in the High Court on 24 September 2018.
Their retrial is set to begin with the pleas of the seven accused men; Progress Munuma, Manuel Makendano, Shine Samulandela, Alex Mushakwa, Diamond Salufu, Hoster Ntombo and John Ntambwe.
On Monday, Acting High Court Judge Petrus Unengu ordered the commencement of the retrial as per agreement reached between the accused persons state-funded defence lawyers, George Neves and Ilse Agenbach.
The retrial was ordered to commence after the Windhoek Supreme Court in July 2018 dismissed a petition by the accused to be granted leave to appeal against the dismissal of a special plea in which the group was challenging the jurisdiction of Namibias High Court to try them on charges of high treason.
The special plea brought before court in terms of Section 106 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977 was rejected in a ruling handed down by Judge Unengu on 10 April 2018.
Following the High Court's refusal to grant them leave to appeal, they then decided to send a petition to Supreme Court Chief Justice Peter Shivute asking him to consider their case and allow them leave to appeal in that court against the dismissal of their special plea.
The Supreme Court turned down the petition on 02 July 2018.
As per a ruling on 10 April 2018, the High Court has full territorial jurisdiction to try the seven men on the charges of high treason and other related charges.
Furthermore, the court found that the accused are all Namibian citizens born in the Zambezi Region (former Caprivi Region) and freely took part in several elections during the then colonial South African administration and at the time of the United Nations supervised general elections in 1989.
In addition, documentary evidence presented before court also showed that they had all applied for Namibian citizenship documents and are just now pretending not to be Namibian nationals for unknown reasons.
The charges against the seven men stem from their alleged involvement in a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999.