News and Information

February 28, 2006

Posted by: nshr on Feb 23, 2006 - 07:13 AM

February 22 2006

A furious Sifwe-speaking man from the Caprivi Region yesterday accused law enforcement officials connected to the marathon Caprivi high treason trial of forcing him to incriminate himself and certain other people from his tribal group. Boniface Muloiwa LIBANDA (52), who is a school teacher and resident of Makanga village in the said Region, accused police investigators of the alleged Caprivi secessionist plot of inter alia “molding a statement which they brought to me and, by force and methods of terror and fear, they made me to sign it, so that it may become mine and so that it may also involve me, my friends and other people who are already in custody”.

Libanda informed Windhoek-based human rights defenders (HRDs) that three police officers arrived at the Ngonga Primary School where he is a teacher. The incident allegedly started to unfold on a Monday, February 6 2006, when the police took him from the said school to Katima Mulilo, the regional capital. On February 8 2006 police officers allegedly drove him from Katima Mulilo to Windhoek to testify in the High Court about “a story, which they wrote themselves, against myself and two other persons who are already in custody”.

Upon arrival in Windhoek, the police allegedly took him to the offices of a certain prosecutor January where “I was asked questions first in the first room”. Because “I thought the questions being put to me by January were just a ‘comprehension’, I did not argue anything versus their questions” on Wednesday, February 15 2006. The following day, being a Thursday, February 16 2006, he was brought before the High Court and where he answered January’s questions in the same way as he did the previous day. On a Monday, being February 20 2006, Libanda was again brought before the High Court and when defense counsel asked him questions for the first time he decided that the time has come “to tell the real truth from the bottom of my heart”. He also described police attempt to force him to testify as “deceit”.

Libanda also told HRDs that the reason for coming to NSHR Office was “to seek cover just in case they decide to go for me and force me to testify against my will. I would like to be free from the police”. He also told HRDs that he feared for his life “because the police can protect sometimes, but if someone does not do what they want, they kill”.

During the last four weeks NSHR has issued at least three Press Releases citing certain incidents in which law enforcement officials had allegedly also forced other people to testify in the high treason trial. The statements have resulted in NSHR being threatened with “contempt of court” by the Office of the Prosecutor General on February 15 2005, the charges NSHR has dismissed.

Meanwhile, in a related matter, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has classified the detention of 13 alleged Caprivi secessionists as a Category III detention. According to WGAD Opinion no.47/2005 issued on December 12 2005 (E/CN.4/2006/7, p.8), the detention of John Samboma and 12 other persons constitutes ‘total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial which is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character’. Having allegedly been abducted from neighboring countries, Samboma & Others are disputing Namibia’s jurisdiction to try them for the crime of high treason.

In classifying the detention of Samboma & Others as Category III detention, WGAD considered the general principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment as well as the criteria laid down in Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Note: In case of additional information, please call Dorkas Phillemon or Phil ya Nangoloh at Tel: +264 61 253 447 or +264 61 236 183 (office hours) or Mobile: +264 811 2999 886 (Phil) or E-mail: or or visit


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