WINDHOEK, 29 MAY – The Windhoek High Court on Tuesday refused to grant seven men leave to appeal the dismissal of a special plea in which the group challenged the jurisdiction of Namibia’s High Court to try them on charges of high treason.
They are Progress Munuma, Manuel Makendano, Shine Samulandela, Alex Mushakwa, Diamond Salufu, Hoster Ntombo and John Ntambwe.
The special plea brought before court in terms of Section 106 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1977 was rejected in a ruling handed down by Acting High Court Judge Petrus Unengu on 10 April 2018.
Not happy with the dismissal of their special plea, the men through their State-funded defence lawyers then brought an application to be allowed leave to appeal the dismissal of the special plea in the Supreme Court.
The application in the Supreme Court was dismissed in a judgement handed down by Judge Unengu on Tuesday.
Following Tuesday’s refusal to grant them leave to appeal, they decided to send a petition to Supreme Court Chief Justice Peter Shivute asking him to consider their case and allow them leave to appeal in that court against the dismissal of their special plea.
As per a ruling on 10 April 2018, the Namibian High Court has full territorial jurisdiction to try the seven men on the charges of high treason and other related charges they face.
The court ruled that the Office of the Prosecutor-General has the right to prosecute the accused on the charges against them.
Furthermore, the court found that the accused are all Namibian citizens born in the Zambezi Region (former Caprivi Region) and freely took part in several elections during the then colonial South African administration and at the time of the United Nations’ supervised general elections in 1989.
In addition, documentary evidence presented before court also showed they all had applied for Namibian citizenship documents and are just now pretending not to be Namibian nationals for unknown reasons.
The failed special plea was based on a legal point in which the group claimed they are Caprivians and not Namibians and for this reason, Namibia’s High Court has no legal power to try them for high treason.
The charges against the seven men stem from their alleged involvement in a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi from the rest of Namibia on 02 August 1999.
They remain in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility with no option to post bail, pending the outcome of their petition to the Supreme Court on 02 July 2018.