By Staff Reporter
The Caprivi High Treason trial in which 92 of the 109 accused detainees had launched applications with their defence lawyers to be released from custody, was postponed to February next year for Judge Elton Hoff to give his verdict.
The application of section 174 of the criminal procedure Act 51 of 1977, started before the Windhoek Central Prison High Court on September 3, saw ten defence counsels arguing before the state to have their clients released from 13 years of detention.
The trial was marred by allegations of torture, bribery, false statements, name-calling and false implications of accussed to be part of the Caprivi Liberation Army, which allegedly launched attacks at Katima Mulilo in 1999.
The remaining 17 of the accused did not launch an appeal. All tighter the accussed are facing a total of 278 charges, including counts of high treason, sedition, nine counts of murder, and 240 charges of attempted murder. The state closed its case in February this year. The trail has been running since 2003.
The ten defence counsels was made up of Gerson Nyoni, Percy McNally, Patrick Kauta, Profesyn Muluti, Victor Kachaka, Clive Kavendjii, Henry Kruger, Jonathan Samukange, Jorge Neves and Christopher Dube.
Defence Counsels such Gerson Nyoni who took the first stand argued that his clients were falsely accussed by witnesses who were tortured and intimidated to point them out for arrest.
Nyoni further argued that many of the state witnesses could not identify the accused before the court, an act that he described as ‘questionable’.During the beginning of the trial, the state witness contradicted their initial police statements when they revelled that they had suffered high-exercise torture which left many of them impotent.
Nyoni dismissed statements and evidences obtained from Jimmy Siswaniso, Thomas Mukaya, Patrick Mutelo, Gabriel Matengu Sakutiya, John Muluali, Hastings Kufwa and Evans Mate Bornbright Mutenda, and termed them un-credible.
After the defence counsels put their arguments through, the prosecution team responded by urging Judge Hoff not to be distracted by passing a verdict after scrutinizing the evidence that which redeem the accussed of not.
Mukendwa was represented by Kachaka. Mukendwa was arrested weeks after the CLA allegedly launched attacks on the army base and police station at Katima Mulilo All the accussed were ordered to remain in custody until the verdict is passed in 2013.