News and Information

Namibia: Supreme Court Overrules Decision to Free Caprivi 13
July 21, 2004
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

July 21, 2004
Posted to the web July 21, 2004


The Namibian Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a government appeal to overrule a High Court decision that freed 13 people accused of treason.

They were part of a group of 120 arrested for allegedly taking part in secessionist violence led by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), which attacked Katimo Mulilo, the largest town in the northeastern Caprivi region, in August 1999.

The 13 accused, including John Samboma, the alleged commander of the CLA, were released at the end of February following an order by Judge Elton Hoff at the High Court in Grootfontein, 500 km north of the capital, Windhoek. He ruled that his court did not have the jurisdiction to try the men because the circumstances under which they had been held were "irregular".

The men were re-arrested on being released.

A bench of five judges had heard arguments from both sides in May. On Wednesday a majority of five judges ruled in favour of the state's appeal, with two dissenting.

Eduard Kisting, a lawyer for the accused, said the 13 men, along with 107 others, would now stand trial for treason next month

Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Network

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