News and Information

November 22, 2006

Posted by: nshr on Nov 17, 2006 - 08:40 AM

November 16 2006

A Caprivi man (see picture infra) who has recently accused the Government of Namibia (GoN) of torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment has been released.

Rassen Likanda Lutambo (31) told human rights defenders (HRDs) that he and seven others were released from virtual custody in Windhoek on November 1 2006 at around 18h24. They were returned to their native Caprivi Region where they arrived on November 2 2006. Lutambo said Police officers whom he identified as Evans Simasiku and Popyanawa (Oshiwambo language for “Tell the Truth”) picked him and others up at the Hosea Kutako Guesthouse, in Windhoek, and transported them to Katima Mulilo, the capital of the Caprivi Region.
Lutambo revealed that himself, Hoster Sikunga, Kenneth Tiyeho, Kabika Saifi, Smith Kutelo, Santos Tubahindile, Advocate Tubazalile and Crispin Likemo were declared “unwilling witnesses” and were told to “wait what the next step [to] be taken [against] us”.

Furthermore, Lutambo alleged that during virtual house arrest in Windhoek since April 27 2006 Police officers and members of the Prosecution Team in the marathon Caprivi High Treason Trial conspired to force him to give false testimony against himself, his relatives and other persons. He said that during his detention Police officers and members of the Prosecution Team 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 him medical care.

Lutambo also told HRDs during the trip back to the Caprivi Region Evans Simasiku and Popyanawa exposed them to hostile weather by transporting them at the back of an open 1.8-liter light Toyota truck and also denied them food. However, during a high profile meeting with NSHR officials on June 13 2006 senior members of the Prosecution Team accused NSHR of making “certain distortions” and assured HRDs that Lutambo and more than 15 other people were all “willing” State witnesses in the said Trial. The State officials also categorically denied allegations of torture and mistreatment of Lutambo and others.

Nonetheless, Lutambo yesterday repeated his earlier allegations that during 1999 and 2000 Bobbie Chizabulyo (now late), Evans Simasiku and Popyanawa severely tortured him and in the process broke one of his ribs in attempt to force him to sign a forged statement. He produced documentary evidence, including of X-ray photographs and medical reports as proof that he was tortured.

While in custody in Windhoek and after NSHR intervention, 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. According to his health passport he has developed “mass in the 5th rib after Lutambo was hit on the ribs x years ago. Mass is increasing in size and it is painfull” (refer to protruding mass in picture).

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Police officers connected to the marathon Trial demonstrated that they did not kidnap or arrest yet another Caprivi man from Kaenda village, some 45 kilometers south of Katima Mulilo. Family members of the man first called NSHR expressing fears that Boniface Mulonda (34) has ‘been forcibly picked up in the middle of the night by what appeared to be Police officers connected to the Caprivi High Treason Trial and his whereabouts were unknown to us”.

“However, following our routine inquiry into matters of this nature, we are satisfied that the Police did not kidnap or arrest Mulonda. Apparently, he is a willing State witness in the said Trial. Although his family members adamantly maintained that the Police did not consult them ‘properly’ about his coming to Windhoek, when we came back to them with the Police response, relatives conceded that the Police have visited Mulonda, on several occasions, including shortly before November 14 2006, when he was brought to Windhoek to testify in the Trial. The Police commander of the high treason investigation team, Col. Abraham Maasdorp, and a junior Police officer yesterday morning explained to our satisfaction that Mulonda was not in anyway in custody and family members are free to contact him any time” said NSHR senior spokesperson Nadia Ihuhua this morning.

As for allegations of torture of Lutambo and others, NSHR calls upon the Inspector General of the Namibian Police to immediately arrest and detain Evans Simasiku and Popyanawa (i.e. Eimo Popyeinawa?) and ensure that the two Police officers are prosecuted in accordance with applicable international norms.

“The names of Evans Simasiku and Popyeinawa have prominently featured in virtually all allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in connection with the Caprivi High Treason case. Torture is a very grave international crime and must be treated as such without exception. We warn that there will eventually be a high price to pay in case of participation and or tolerance of torture”, said NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh.

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


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