News and Information

March 3, 2006

Posted by: nshr on Mar 01, 2006 - 04:32 PM

March 1 2006

Another teacher in Caprivi Region whom members of the Namibian Police (NamPol) had allegedly arrested, tortured and detained for four (4) days in the Katima Mulilo police cells in 1999 is “living in fear” after having refused to ‘help’ the police, human rights defenders (HRDs) were told on February 27 2006.

Mr. Eugene Abele MUBITA (51), a resident of Makanga village, some 90 kilometers west of Katima Mulilo, revealed to HRDs that NamPol officers and State prosecutors had told him and a certain Simwaza to “go back to our work because learners are missing us and that we refused to help them”.

The incident allegedly took place on February 24 2006 at the offices of State prosecutors. This was nine (9) days after the police allegedly picked up Mubita while he was attending a workshop at the Katima Mulilo Teachers’ Resource Centre.

A member of the Mafwe tribe, Mubita is a school teacher at the Singalamwe Combined School, also some 90 kilometers west of Katima Mulilo, also told HRDs that on November 25 1999 two police officers whom he identified as “Mr. Evans Simasiku and Mr. Mbinge” arrested him and tortured him for five (5) hours during interrogations at NamPol’s camp at Singalamwe.

He was allegedly again detained on January 21 2000 and subsequently tortured to confess that he, certain Felix Munangisa, Felix Chilinda, Mathews Chilinda, Boniface Libanda, Mesian Litabula and Kester Kabunga had held a meeting at Makanga village “to arrange for the transportation of people who are going to Botswana, [but] I consistently denied this accusation before them”.

“The police told me that this information was revealed to them by my friends who I was holding a meeting with and then why me denying it. It was not a peaceful talk, during that interrogation, I was being tortured, harassed and intimidated in pain. Because of pain and fear of continuous harassment, I finally admitted that we held it. The purpose of the arrest was to make me put that statement (which was enforced on me) in writing with my own hand-writing. Here Mr. Chilipeni Patric who wrote that the statement was forced on him by police officer was heavily bitten in my eyes [sic!]”, Mubita claimed.

Mubita also claimed that they were held for four (4) days in Katima Mulilo police cells. Article 11(3) of the Namibian Constitution requires all persons who are arrested and detained in custody to be brought before the nearest Magistrate or other judicial officer within a period of 48 hours of their arrest, however.

“On 23/02/2006 I was questioned on my statement by State prosecutor … I told him that I don’t know that meeting. I admitted and signed that statement because of torture and intimidation ... On 24/02/2006 I was called again with Mr. Simwaza … by the State prosecutors. On arriving at their offices, we were told to come back home to our work because learners are missing us, and that we refused to help them. The prosecutor told us to come on own expense. [However], on 25/02/2006 we were brought back and arrived safely”, Mubita alleged.

Mubita is one of the over 300 Caprivians listed by NSHR as having been detained and or tortured prior to and after the August 2 1999 alleged secessionist attack at Katima Mulilo.

Meanwhile, another man has also claimed that NamPol members had tortured him to force him to make a self-incriminating statement.

“Since he is a potential State witness and since we believe that it is in the best interest of the administration of justice to do so, we will deliberately refrain from disclosing his identity or any other details about him for the time being. However, on an amicus curiae basis, we will submit all the information we have in our possession about him to either the Office of the Prosecutor General or to defense counsel in the Caprivi treason case, on a first-come-first-served basis. In our opinion, either one of these entities have the obligation to ensure that evidence obtained through tortured means is not used in any legal proceedings. We will also so submit this information sub rosa as per the recent advice we received from the Office of the Prosecutor General”, NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh.

NSHR has over the last four (4) weeks received several allegations that certain NamPol members had tortured suspects and certain witnesses to make self-incriminating statements in the Caprivi Region.

Note: In case of addition enquiries, please call Phil ya Nangoloh or Dorkas Phillemon at Tel: 061 253 447 or 061 236 183


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