Namibia National Olympics Committee (NNOC) president Abner Xoagub yesterday said they were burning the midnight oil to try and secure the services of a senior and highly competent criminal lawyer, who is fluent in both Portuguese and English, to help surmount translation and interpretation barriers in the case of arrested Namibian boxer Jonas Junias.
Jonas, who was also the Namibian flag carrier at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, was on Sunday arrested on suspicion of
sexually harassing a housekeeper in the Athletes’ Village in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
According to a statement issued by the NNOC, since they started their legal defense on Monday – hoping to secure bail for the
22-year-old pugilist – their efforts have proved futile due to persistent language barriers and difficulty in the interpretation of Brazilian
law, hence their efforts to secure an attorney, who is fluent in both Portuguese and English. Contrary to the Namibian definition
of sexual harassment, which is defined as any unwarranted conduct of a sexual nature towards a person without his or her consent, where the victim made it clear that he or she finds the conduct offensive, or where the harasser should have realised that the conduct would be unacceptable, according to the Brazilian Legal Act of 1992 the terms and definitions of attempted rape or rape and sexual harassment are categorised as one and the same crime.
“The past 48 hours have been devoted solely to the case. Following a series of consultations throughout the day we resolved to
change our legal team… We need a highly effective and efficient senior criminal lawyer, fluent in both Portuguese and English, to
eliminate the interpretation barriers as far as our case is concerned.
Secondly, we also need a sworn-in translator,” said Xoagub. “The language barrier grossly impacted our first bail application
and now our second application will be [submitted] within the next 12 hours with support from the Namibian embassy, the IOC legal team and the Local Games Organising Committee chair’s office.
“We’re really doing everything humanly possible to get our boxer out within the next 12 hours to be available for weighing-in [by Wednesday]. The Moroccan boxer facing similar allegations missed the weighing-in deadline and was eliminated from competition. “We want to avoid such a situation for our boxer. As the case is still in progress, I cannot share much details, as it may impact our defense and submission,” Xoagub briefly explained.