The grandmother of the 17-year-old boy allegedly murdered by three City Police officers, who are currently on trial for murder, kidnapping and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, yesterday testified in the ongoing trial.
Alina Shetekela, 69, testified through an Oshiwambo interpreter about the night that Johannes Shetekela Werner, 30, Kleopas Shiikalepo Kapalanga, 28, and 33-year-old Elia Nakale allegedly beat her grandson, Mandela Ramakhuha, causing him to die eight days later in the Katutura Intermediate Hospital.
Shetekela told the court that when she saw the deceased his face was swollen and he could not talk. “When I asked him if the police beat him, he just made mumbling sounds, he could not talk properly,” she informed Judge Usiku.
She further informed the court that when she asked Werner, Accused 1, why they had beaten up her grandson he replied, ‘You are lucky we did not shoot him.’
Before Shetekela took the stand, a niece of the deceased, Pauletta Nashilundu, also informed the court that Werner made those remarks and allegedly also asked the old woman if she was protecting thieves.
Shetekela further said Werner told her they beat up the deceased because he did not want to reveal his accomplice who allegedly stole laptops at the City Police offices.
During their first appearance on Tuesday the three officers pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied assaulting the deceased.
It is alleged they killed Ramakhuha by assaulting him all over his head and body and by handcuffing him and letting him fall down, or threw him on the ground causing him to die in the Katutura hospital on April 24, 2013 as a result of his injuries.
The charge of kidnapping states the accused deprived Ramakhuha of his liberty of movement and detained him unlawfully for approximately two to four hours, before releasing him into the custody of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) at the Windhoek Police Station.
The third charge states the accused unlawfully and with the intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice reported to members of NamPol that the deceased must be detained and was drunk but pretending to be ill or unconscious.
They further failed to report to their seniors that they assaulted the deceased and prevented the deceased from obtaining medical treatment, the indictment reads, and also that they failed to inform his guardians where they were going to take the deceased.
According to the summary of substantial facts the accused were all members of the Windhoek City Police who were on standby duty and acted with a common purpose when they collected the deceased from a drinking place on the evening of Tuesday April 16, 2013.
They suspected the deceased of having participated in a crime of theft of a cellphone(s) and computer(s) from the City of Windhoek Head Office, the indictment states.
“The accused loaded the deceased into a pick-up motor vehicle and handcuffed him. Whilst driving around with the deceased in the absence and without the consent of his parents or lawful guardian, the accused interrogated the late 17-year-old regarding the theft case and the whereabouts of the stolen goods and an alleged accomplice to this theft,” according to the indictment.
It further states that while Ramakhuha was in their custody, the accused assaulted him with blunt force and caused him to be driven to various places in Windhoek.
After driving around for approximately two to four hours the accused dropped the unconscious deceased off at the Windhoek Police Station with instructions to the police to detain him on a charge of theft.
The police officers on duty however took the unconscious boy to Katutura hospital where he died due to soft tissue trauma caused by the assaults, it is alleged.
Boris ‘The Mouth’ Isaacks represents Werner, Willem Visser appears for Kapalanga and Kadhila Amoomo for Nakale – all private instructions through the City of Windhoek.
State Advocate Cliff Lutibezi prosecutes and the case continues.