News and Information
Treason trial back in court
|January 23, 2008
| Treason trial back in court
THE main Caprivi high treason trial swung back into action in the High Court on Monday, following a seven-week recess since the end of November.
The trial's first session for the year began at a quick trot, with four prosecution witnesses passing through the witness box before Judge Elton Hoff to give evidence over the first two days of proceedings in the trial in 2008, and a fifth already some distance into his testimony.
Thirty of the remaining 117 accused men who are being prosecuted in the trial were again absent from the dock in the High Court building on the grounds of Windhoek Central Prison with the resumption of the trial.
They are continuing with a boycott of the trial that they launched in March last year, based on their claimed belief that the Caprivi Region is not part of Namibia and that a Namibian court does not have jurisdiction over them as residents of the Caprivi Region.
The four witnesses who wrapped up their testimony on Monday and yesterday faced little cross-examination from the defence lawyers representing the charged men who are not boycotting the proceedings.
Only one of these witnesses however mentioned the name of one of the accused men and also managed to correctly identify the mentioned person in the dock in court to link the mentioned name with a person who is amongst the accused in the dock.
The first witness to testify on Monday, Chrispin Khama Shaweke, told Judge Hoff that his younger brother, Rosca Shaweke, visited his house at Singobeka - situated in the Linyanti area in the Caprivi Region - on five occasions on dates that he could no longer remember.
Rosca Shaweke was one of three alleged members of an armed secessionist organisation in the Caprivi Region, the Caprivi Liberation Army, who were shot dead at Situngu Island near Singobeka on November 4 2002.
According to Chrispin Shaweke, his brother asked him for food during the last visits that he received from him before his death.
On one of these visits, his brother was accompanied by one Osbert Likanyi and another person, and his three visitors appeared to have firearms with them, Shaweke said.
Some time after the fifth visit from his brother he was informed of his brother's death through the traditional authority in the area, Shaweke related.
He added that he also identified his brother's body after his death, and that he was fined by the traditional authority to pay three head of cattle for failing to report his brother's presence in the area to the authorities.
When asked to check if he could see anyone that he mentioned in his testimony in the dock in the courtroom, Shaweke told the Judge that he is nearsighted and would not be able to see anyone.
He thus did not identify Likanyi, who is one of the accused men in the dock.
Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Greyson Nyoni, Shaweke also watered down his testimony about his brother and Likanyi having been armed during one of the visits.
That visit was at night, and because of his bad eyesight as well he could not actually see what his brother and the men in his company had with them when they visited him, Shaweke said.
A niece of Shaweke, Anastancia Luminate Taulo, also testified on Monday.
She told the Judge that she also saw Rosca Shaweke at Singobeka on three occasions, of which the dates were likewise unknown to her.
On the third occasion, a man who was identified by Rosca Shaweke as Osbert Likanyi was with Shaweke, Taulo said.
At that time, she claimed, Shaweke was carrying an axe with him, while Likanyi was armed with a spear.
Taulo also did not point out Likanyi in the dock.
Just as vague about dates was Frederick Nkonga Muhupulo, whose testimony was sandwiched between that of Shaweke and Taulo.
He said a certain George Liseho - this is the name of one of the 30 accused men who are absent from the trial - approached him on some date before March 2000 to hand over an AK-47 firearm to him with the request that he should keep it safe for him.
In March 2000, the Police came looking for this gun, and arrested him after finding the firearm, Muhupulo said.
Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Jorge Neves, though, Muhupolo stated that the gun was actually brought to him by one George Monitor.
He added that this was not the same person as George Liseho.
Yesterday, however, Muhupulo again said that these two names indeed referred to the same person.
The trial is set to continue today with the fifth witness to testify so far this week - he is the 244th prosecution witness testifying in the trial - scheduled to continue with his evidence.
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