News and Information

Life goes on for detainees
September 15, 2004


MORE than five years in custody as trial-awaiting detainees has not suspended life's inevitable rites of passage for the 120 Caprivi high treason suspects on trial at Grootfontein.

The absence of two of the 120 from proceedings in the High Court here on Monday once again demonstrated that fact.

In the about five years and a month that most of the 120 have been in custody, awaiting first the start and now the completion of a trial for which there is no end in sight yet, 11 of their co-accused have already died.

But death has visited not only to those confined to prison.

A relatively minor procedural incident before the Judge showed once again this week that it has also taken its toll on the families of the alleged separatists on trial before Judge Elton Hoff.

On Monday defence counsel Jonathan Samukange and Henry Chanda asked the judge to excuse two of their clients, Thaddeus Ndala and Derick Ndala, from the day's proceedings.

Their father had died, the Judge was told.

The two brothers have both been in custody for more than five years - Thaddeus Ndala since mid-June 1999, when he was arrested in Zambia, before being handed over to Namibia on August 7 1999; his brother Derick since August 2 1999.

The two brothers were back in court yesterday.

Their father was buried on Monday, Derick Ndala told The Namibian.

He and his brother remained in prison at Grootfontein as this happened.

Two weeks ago, another one of the 120, Macnally Mwala Mutame, went through a similar loss of a close family member.

He, too, was excused from court proceedings for the day.

A child of his had died, the court was told.

He also remained in custody at prison as his child was laid to rest back home in the Caprivi Region.

Source: The Namibian

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