News and Information

Bots highest court reserves judgement in extradition of 13 treason suspects
July 8, 2004

LEGAL proceedings aimed at having another 13 Caprivi high treason suspects extradited from Botswana to be put on trial in Namibia reached the end of the line in Botswana's judicial system yesterday.

A five-judge bench of the Court of Appeal reserved its judgement on the appeal over Namibia's request for the 13 suspects' extradition after they had heard arguments on behalf of the 13 and on Namibia's behalf.

Dennis Khama, who as a senior legal officer in the Ministry of Justice has been closely involved with Namibia's extradition request for close to four years, told The Namibian from Botswana yesterday.

The Court of Appeal indicated at the close of yesterday's hearing, presided over by the court's President, Justice Patrick Tebbutt, that its judgement might still be delivered before the court's current session comes to an end by July 26, Khama reported.

He explained that Namibia's appeal to Botswana's highest court was premised on two main points.

The first was that Botswana's High Court had erred in the way that it applied the political exception in that country's Extradition Act that is that act's provision that people could not be extradited from Botswana to stand trial in another country for alleged offences of a political nature.

In a ruling in December 2002, Botswana's High court allowed the 13 suspects' appeal against a Gaborone Magistrate's Court ruling in which the 13 were declared to be extraditable to Namibia.

Secondly, Khama indicated further, Namibia's appeal was also based on an argument that allegations that the 13 would stand the danger of being subjected to torture or some form of extra-judicial punishment if they were returned to Namibia, were based on hearsay.

These claims turned out to be one of the grounds on which the Botswana High Court allowed the thirteen's appeal against their extradition.

The 13 are Alfred Kakena Likunga, Chris Samuele Mushanana, Jones Brownson Kache, Francis Kavetu Karufu, Puteho Obbicious Matengu, Dunbar Tumisa Muswena, Ivan Masole Kakena, David Nalisa Mumbone, Richard Musupali Sithali, Samulandela Kennedy Ntelamo, Mutoiwa George Kabuko, Thaddeus Muzamai, and Claasen Johan Kawana.

If they are extradited to Namibia, they would face a range of charges based on allegations that they took part in the activities of an alleged separatist movement that is claimed to have aimed to force the secession of the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia and to establish a separate state in that part of the country.


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