News and Information

March 24, 2011
Posted by lorenz on Jan 04, 2011 - 07:32 PM

Press Releases [3]

January 4 2011

A Caprivian man (pictured infra), who has, in the recent past, accused several Namibian Police officers and prosecution lawyers of inter alia torturing him, is, once again, accusing Namibian Police officers of attempting to induce him to make self-incriminating statements and of threatening to kill him.

Rassen Lutambo (35) yesterday told NAMRIGHTS officials at Katima Mulilo, capital of the Caprivi Region, that a certain Ndaipa, who is said to be a Namibian Police officer, threatened “to crush your life” if he (Lutambo) continues to refuse to give false testimonies against several suspects in the marathon Caprivi High Treason Trial (CHTT).

In a written statement, Lutambo told NAMRIGHTS yesterday afternoon that he is, de novo, living in fear for his life after three Namibian Police officers, including Detective Inspector Mbinge and Ndaipa, arrived at his Kasheshe village on December 30 2010 and told him to report to the Katima Mulilo Police precinct “with regard [to] the statement I refused to [accept] at Windhoek High Court in April 2006”. They told “me to tell them about anything in connection [with the] Caprivi attack, as from 1 August 1999 to the 30th of December 2010”, he added. Lutambo categorically declined to accept the tainted statement and they left.

However, an hour later, Ndaipa returned to Lutambo’s hamlet and threatened him, inter alia, that: “If you don’t agree with what we want from you, I will crush your life”.

On or around November 15 2006 [1], Lutambo had also accused several Police officers, as well as CHTT prosecution lawyers, of conspiracy to force him to give false testimony against himself, his relatives and other persons since April 27 2006, while he was kept under virtual house arrest at a certain house in the Namibian capital. He said that during his detention, Police officers and prosecution lawyers colluded in subjecting him to torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment by, inter alia, holding him incommunicado, restricting his freedom of movement, giving him “food which was not good” and “denying me medical treatment”.

The names of Mbinge, Kombungu, Aipa, Simasiku and Popyeinawa have prominently featured in virtually all the allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in connection with the CHTT case.

During a high profile meeting between NAMRIGHTS officials and senior lawyers of the Prosecution Team on June 13 2006, the latter accused the Namibian human rights watchdog of, inter alia, making “certain distortions”. The accusation came after NAMRIGHTS issued a Press Release [2] containing Lutambo’s allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (TCIDT) at the hands of Police officers and prosecution lawyers. The lawyers categorically denied the allegations of torture and mistreatment of Lutambo and others and told NAMRIGHTS Executive Director, Phil ya Nangoloh, and his team that Lutambo and more than 15 other people were all “willing” State witnesses in the aforesaid Trial.

In his statement yesterday, Lutambo repeated his earlier allegations that, between 1999 and 2000, Bobbie Chizabulyo (now late), Evans Simasiku and a certain Popyanawa (possibly Detective Inspector Heimo Popyeinawa) severely tortured him and, in the process, broke one of his ribs with the intention to force him to sign a false sworn statement, implicating himself and several other persons. He produced documentary evidence, including X-ray photographs and medical reports, as proof that he, indeed, was tortured.

Lutambo, who was seriously ill at the time, was allowed to consult a physician at a State Hospital where he underwent medical examination on August 25 2006 only after NAMRIGHTS once again exposed the TCIDT allegations. According to his health passport, he has developed “mass in the 5th rib after he was hit on the ribs x years ago. Mass is increasing in size and it is painful”. The protruding mass can be seen the above picture just below Lutambo’s arm pit.

Moreover, at the beginning of March 2010, the High Court rejected as evidence the self-incriminating statements made by 26 of the Caprivi political prisoners. Some or most of the statements were made before various magistrates after the men were arrested. However, on March 1 2010, High Court and CHTT Judge Hoff declared all of the said statements to be inadmissible as evidence because such statements were obtained through, inter alia, TCIDT and or as result of what Police officers and other torturers forced or told their victims to say to the judicial officers.

On numerous occasions, during the last 11 years, NAMRIGHTS has persistently and fearlessly stated most if not all of the Caprivi political prisoners have been subjected to TCIDT and the human rights organization has incessantly expressed concern that tainted evidence might be used against the CHTT suspects.

“Now entering its 12th year, the controversial CHTT is the longest running political trial and most costly in Namibian history with no end in sight. Therefore, the fact that a trial could last for 11 years is irrefutable proof that Namibia’s judicial system is largely a non-starter, plagued by lengthy delays in delivering judgments and frequent postponements as well as huge backlogs of court cases. Hence, as far as NAMRIGHTS is concerned, the constitutionality of this Trial has become questionable and is increasingly assuming the dimensions of a crime against humanity”, said NAMRIGHTS Executive Director, Phil ya Nangoloh, this morning.

In recent years, several academics and politicians have also joined NAMRIGHTS in expressing concern about the legitimacy of the said marathon trial. Several international human rights organizations have also increasingly expressed concern about the lengthy trial.

NAMRIGHTS is calling upon Namibian Chief Justice Peter Shivute to order the immediate release of all the Caprivi political prisoners. This is in line with the Constitutional doctrine that “a trial shall take place within a reasonable period of time, failing which the accused shall be released”. NAMRIGHTS is also, once again, urging the Inspector General of the Namibian Police to arrest and detain all the Police officers and all other persons accused of torturing the Caprivi political prisoners, as well as for the Namibian judiciary to ensure that they are prosecuted in accordance with applicable international norms.

In case of additional inquiries, please call Phil ya Nangoloh at Tel: +264 61 236 183 or +264 61 253 447 (office hours) or E-mail: or or


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