Police Arrests Former Robben Island Prisoner

Mr. Hanson Tabo

By Clemence Tashaya at Masida
FORMER Robben Island Prisoner Mr. Henson Tabo (70) has been detained several times with interrogations and torture by the Namibian Police High Treason Unit for allegedly keeping secret information of the Caprivi secessionists.
Mr. Tabo who was jailed at Robben Island during the liberation struggle of Namibia has been accused for allegedly hiding members of Caprivi Liberation Army at his village on August 2, 1999. High Treason Unit picked him up at his Masida village to tell the whereabouts of a certain Mametelo a rebel.
The Caprivi Vision recently paid a visit to the former Robben Island prisoner and established that he is now living in fear as the police are always coming to interrogate and torture him at any time of the day. He was not available when CVNEWS Reporters visited his village, which is located some 5 km away from Sobbe Conservancy. He went into hiding suspecting that Caprivi Vision Reporters were members of the High Treason Unit.
Residents in Masida village, some 70 kilometers west of Katima Mulilo are no longer trusting strangers in vehicles visiting in their villages for fear of ethnic and politically motivated persecution after at least two Nampol officers associated with the Caprivi High Treason Trial last month arrested and detained this elderly hero, Mr. Tabo for interrogation in connection with the alleged Caprivi secessionist saga.
Sources privy to this paper divulged that members of the High Treason Unit visited Masida village and interrogated mainly villagers whose sons are facing trial in the secessionist case.
Warrant Officer, Evans Simasiku and two other unidentified Nampol members who used an Isuzu LVD bakkie allegedly first arrested Mr. Tabo, a hearing impaired pensioner and a former Roben Island prisoner who served a jail sentence together with living heroes such as Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mr. Toivo ya Toivo in order to show them where they have been hiding and feeding a secessionist rebel by the name “Mametelo”.
The first incident allegedly occurred on Friday, 30 July 2010 at approximately 0900 hrs at a cattle post of Masida village. It is alleged that the impaired (Tabo Henson) was once again arrested on the following Saturday (31 July) in the early hours at around 0400hrs. He was subsequently taken into a bush between some 15 and 20 kilometres away from his village for interrogations.
During the trial of treason in March 2010, Judge Hoff ruled that some of the statements made by the accused persons (i.e.) the alleged Caprivi secessionists) were inadmissible because deponents had been assaulted (read “tortured”) by the members of the Namibian Security Forces prior to making the said statements and the magistrates who took down the statements had been informed by the accused persons that the accused persons had been tortured previously and that the said magistrates had failed to investigate the torture allegations and further that the magistrates had failed to inform or explain to the accused persons their right to legal aid and legal representation prior to the accused persons’ making the said statements. Hence, Judge Hoff ruled that the accused persons’ inalienable Constitutional right to fair trial has been violated.
Mr. Tabo, who spoke to the Caprivi Vision newspaper through an interpreter, explained that he disowns all and many statements which the police had forced him to sign for implicating anyone in the alleged secessionist saga.
The controversial Caprivi High Treason Trial is plagued by substantive and procedural inter alia, because the due of law has not been adhered to both police officers and several judicial officers involved.
In a series of Press Releases and Opinion pieces in 2006, the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) strongly warned the Namibian judiciary that the use of torture evidence in the Caprivi High Treason Trial [CHTT] would have far-reaching negative consequences with regard to the fairness of the said trial.
According to NSHR, annual reports state that all the alleged Caprivi secessionist suspects are ethic Mafwe tribesmen, while the overwhelming majority of the Nampol officers accused of this systematic Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (TCIDT) are said to be ethnic Masubia tribesmen.
Angry Mafwe Villagers told Caprivi Vision that tribally-neutral Nampol officers should be assigned to investigate the Caprivi secessionist saga and not the Masubia-speaking Nampol members “who hate us anyway because of tribal politics”.
In a latest twist of this case, the Caprivi Vision established that the ailing former Robben Island prisoner was picked again by the Caprivi High Treason Trial squad on Thursday 18th September 2010 and went for interrogation at unknown torture chamber and later was dropped home on the 28th September 2010 from Oshakati prison where he was detained for two weeks.
A villager who identified herself as disclosed to this publication that the government should stop abusing the Robben Island prisoner since he is now at an advanced age.
“Enough is enough my son. This should stop because all villagers are now living in fear of any vehicle that comes in all our nearby villages. How can they not respect a former prisoner from Robben Island, “said Frieda Tungulu at Masida village
However, the Minister of Safety and Security, Nangolo Mbumba revealed to the Caprivi Vision that he was not aware of this case rather he advised this paper to get in touch with the local Councillor of Sibbinda Constituency Mr. Felix Mukupi.
“I’m not aware of that case and I’m not in light of its background either. Rather, in order not to tarnish the image of the infamous Robben Island prison, we need all responsible politicians, councilors and the leadership in the Caprivi region to look into this matter seriously. We want to know the history, the background, the activities and the reasons why the High Treason Unit is interrogating him. We don’t want elders who are pensioners like him to be interrogated like that. The history of Roben Island should not be tarnished in Namibia,” Minister quashed
“I have sympathy for him and his life because these are our heroes who liberated our country, Namibia as we are speaking. Therefore, I will order some senior politicians and relevant authorities in the Caprivi region to intervene in that regard. We have councilors and other relevant authorities in the region so they will investigate on that. I will also order my High Treason Unit to furnish all the information to me as soon as possible,” he further explained





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