Delayed court appearance for drug mule

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New Era Newspaper Namibia
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Windhoekw

The Angolan national arrested on Monday with cocaine bullets at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) did not make his first court appearance yesterday – as scheduled –even though the 48-hour timeframe mandatory for such appearances had elapsed.

The 41-year-old suspect had reportedly swallowed 123 bullets of cocaine with a street value of N$423 500 in an attempt to smuggle them into Angola after he travelled to Namibia from Sao Paolo, Brazil via South Africa.

The drug trafficker was expected to appear in Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, but his case was transferred to Katutura Magistrate’s Court, where he was due to appear yetserday, but according to well-placed sources at Katutura Court the prosecutors do not want to handle his case, as the 48-hour window period that a suspect is allowed to be detained before being brought to court has elapsed.

He has been detained for three days without appearing before a judge and law officers now fear the accused may sue them if he is presented in court after the rightful number of hours of detention have elapsed.

Following an arrest an accused is expected to make his first appearance in court before a judge within 48 hours. New Era understands that the accused was still in holding cells awaiting his first court appearance at the time of going to print on Thursday.

It is yet unclear whether the drug smuggler will be held in custody until he is brought to court or released in advance. Efforts to obtain comment from the chief of the lower courts, Johanna Salionga, proved futile, as her phone went unanswered.

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