News and Information
Treason leaders get 18 years in prison
|December 9, 2015
| Treason leaders get 18 years in prison
News - National | 2015-12-09 Page no: 1
by Werner Menges
THE 30 men convicted of high treason and multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the main Caprivi high treason trial were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 18 years yesterday.
The sentencing of the 30, and also three co-accused who were convicted of contraventions of Namibia's immigration laws, will not be bringing the longest trial in Namibian legal history to a close, though.
With several of the 10 defence lawyers involved in the trial having indicated that they have instructions to appeal against the conviction of their clients, the hearing of applications for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is expected to be the next phase that the trial will be going through.
With the sentencing in the Windhoek High Court yesterday, Judge Elton Hoff sent five leaders of a failed attempt to secede the former Caprivi region from Namibia through violent means to prison for an effective 18 years each.
The leading figures are former DTA National Assembly member Geoffrey Mwilima (60), the commander of the secessionist Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), John Samboma (59), Alfred Tawana Matengu (72), who was the deputy leader of a DTA member party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), Bennet Mutuso (55), who was previously a member of the Namibia Defence Force, and Thaddeus Ndala (54).
Mutuso and Ndala were both found to have played leadership roles in the CLA, which the UDP created as an armed wing to pursue the secession of Caprivi.
Each of them was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for high treason, of which 17 years were suspended for a period of five years, to 30 years' imprisonment on each of the nine counts of murder on which they were found guilty, with 12 years of each of those sentences suspended, and to 10-year prison terms on each of the 90 charges of attempted murder on which they were convicted.
Judge Hoff ordered that in respect of each of the 30 men found guilty of high treason the unsuspended periods of all of the sentences on the murder and attempted murder charges should be served concurrently with the unsuspended portions of the sentences on the high treason charge. The effect is that each of the 30 will serve only the sentence he received for high treason.
Thirteen of the convicted men, whom Judge Hoff described as soldiers of the secessionist Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) who carried out deadly attacks on targets at Katima Mulilo in the early morning hours of 2 August 1999, were sentenced to an effective 15 years' imprisonment each.
The attackers are a former teacher, Aggrey Makendano, former police officers Postrick Mwinga and Osbert Likanyi, and Moses Kayoka, Richard Misuha, Charles Mushakwa, Kingsley Mwiya Musheba, Rodwell Mwanabwe Sihela, Albert Mangilazi, John Panse Lubilo, Saviour Tutalife, Raphael Lifumbela, and Chris Ntaba.
Judge Hoff sentenced each of them to 35 years' imprisonment for high treason, with 20 years of that sentence suspended. On each of the nine counts of murder that they were convicted of, they were sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, of which 15 years were suspended, while on each of the 90 charges of attempted murder they were given 10-year prison terms.
Effective prison terms of 10 years were imposed on each of eight of the convicted men who were found to have been supporters of a plan to take up arms in a bid to secede Caprivi from Namibia, and on one of the CLA attackers, Adour Mutalife Chika, who was a youthful 19 years of age at the time of the attacks and his arrest.
The supporters are a former teacher, Bollen Mwilima, ex-police officers Mathews Sasele and Matheus Pangula, former school principals Martin Tubaundule and Kester Kabunga, a former employee of Telecom Namibia, Charles Mainga, Fabian Simiyasa, who was employed by the ministry of agriculture at the time of his arrest, and Richard Mundia.
They were sentenced to 30-year jail terms for high treason, of which 20 years were suspended, 25 years' imprisonment on each of the nine counts of murder, with 15 years of those terms suspended, and eight-year jail terms on each of the 90 counts of attempted murder.
Two of the accused who were convicted on the basis that they knew of the plan to secede Caprivi through the use of violence and failed to report this to the authorities, Victor Matengu and Alfred Siyata, were sentenced to effective imprisonment for three years.
The oldest man among the convicted men, the 74-year-old Bernard Maungolo Jojo, who was found to have been a supporter of the plan to secede the region, was also sentenced to an effective three years' imprisonment.
Judge Hoff sentenced each of them to 20 years' imprisonment for high treason, with 17 years of that term suspended, to a 20-year prison term on each of the nine murder charges, with 17 years of each of those sentences suspended, and to eight-year jail terms, of which five years were suspended, on each of the 90 counts of attempted murder.
The three men found guilty of having exited or entered Namibia illegally without passing through designated border posts - Oscar Muyuka Puteho, George Kasanga, and George Liseho - were sentenced to six months' imprisonment each, with the whole sentence suspended.
Judge Hoff said during the sentencing that the unprecedented period that the convicted men were kept in custody before their trial was concluded - most of them have been in jail for more than 16 years, while some have spent the past 13 years behind bars - was a strong mitigating factor counting in their favour.
Aggravating factors included that eight unarmed and defenceless people were killed during the attacks at Katima Mulilo on 2 August 1999, and that none of the convicted men showed genuine remorse, Judge Hoff said.
“I cannot find any justification for the crimes of high treason, murder and attempted murder committed by the accused persons,” he commented.
A further hearing on the forfeiture of exhibits in the trial and on the possible indemnification of 11 prosecution witnesses from prosecution is due to take place before Judge Hoff today
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