State calls for stiff sentences in treason trial

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Windhoek

The State in the High Court on Wednesday commenced with arguments on the sentences to be imposed on the 30 men found guilty of high treason relating to the armed secessionist attacks on Katima Mulilo in August 1999.

The Deputy Prosecutor General, Taswald July, has argued that the court should not show any leniency for supporters of treason, but should impose a stiff sentence on the leaders who planned the attack and the foot soldiers who executed the subversive plan.

July said that there should be no consideration for the fact that some convicts are first offenders.
July recommended 30 years in prison and not less than 20 years, saying that would be an appropriate sentence for treason.

July said the court should hand down a sentence to show that high treason was committed by the accused who knew Namibia is democratic. They could have sat and negotiated to change the political order, but instead chose to plan and carry out an attack on their own people, killing indiscriminately, killing civilians and the police and others who could have protected them.

The State further argued that Geoffrey Mwilima led the banned United Democratic Party (UDP), and admitted to trying to revive it. Mwilima had a duty as a former member of parliament to protect the State, but he failed to live up to the oath he had taken for Namibia, said the State.

He knew of the imminent attacks but failed to inform the authorities. He was not forthcoming about his involvement and he did not accept any responsibility.

He showed no remorse and denied that the attacks were related to the UDP, the State further argued.
The State said that Mwilima attempted to show that he was not involved in the UDP and this contradiction should be held against his character.

“He led people who trusted him and then attempted to distance himself from them and the attacks. He was an untruthful and evasive witness. He is a political leader and more was expected of him but he failed as a leader in parliament,” the State argued.

Deputy Prosecutor-General July, assisted by State Advocate Amize Adams, representing the State, will first make his closing arguments in the protracted trial that lasted more than a decade.

State-sponsored defence lawyers Patrick Kauta, George Neves, Clive Kavendjii, Profysen Muluti, Ilse Agenbach, Jonathan Samukange, Victor Kachaka, Percy McNally and Hennie Kruger will then address the court in respect of the sentences to be imposed on each of their convicted clients.

The closing arguments are expected to run for the rest of this and next week.
On September 14, the 30 men were found guilty on charges of high treason, murder and attempted murder in connection with the separatist attacks on government-owned installations at Katima Mulilo on that fateful day, August 2, 1999.

Judge Elton Hoff acquitted 35 other men after the State failed to prove their involvement beyond a reasonable doubt in the failed plot to secede the said Caprivi from Namibia.

The 30 convicted men each face 278 charges, including a count of high treason, nine charges of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder in connection with the failed secession attempts.

The treason accused have been in custody for the past 16 years and the long-running trial has clearly taken a heavy toll on them, with 22 having died while awaiting trial.

They were separately charged and convicted of taking part in the attacks, or providing support to the vanquished rebel outfit the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA). The court found that they took part in the attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) regional office, the Wenela border post, as well as M’pacha military base and airport.

Muyongo and former Mafwe chief Boniface Mamili are now exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back to stand trial.

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