Govt still negotiating treason trial payouts

The State is still negotiating financial settlements to the Caprivi high treason trial accused, who were discharged and acquitted, after spending well over a decade in jail.
Justice Minister Albert Kawana told the Windhoek Observer last week that the lawsuit, brought by the 79 former treason accused, was still before the High Court.
The State is set to pay financial settlements to the 79 former accused, who formed part of the 121 accused that went on trial for their alleged part in the secessionist uprising in the then Caprivi region in 1999.
The bloody attacks at several government installations claimed several lives.
In January this year, Attorney General Sackeus Shanghala said he would be making a statement in the National Assembly about the settlement procedure, but that has not materialised to date.
“The Attorney General will, in the forthcoming sitting of the National Assembly, make pronouncements relating to the Caprivi treason trial and the civil cases. Until then, I am not at liberty to discuss matters relating to the case which are sub judice,” Shanghala said at the time.
Kawana said last week that the negotiations are still ongoing.
“As for the settlement, we will need to wait for a while, because it is still before court. I am prohibited to indulge in the matter for now, by the Constitution,” he said.
The 1999 attacks, orchestrated by the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), rocked the then Caprivi region, resulting in a state of emergency being declared.
The 121 accused were charged with high treason, murder, sedition and many other offences.
They eventually faced over 270 counts of criminal conduct.
Of the 121 men who went on trial before Judge Elton Hoff at the end of October 2003, 44 were eventually discharged by the High Court after the prosecution closed its case.
In September last year, a further 35 accused were found not guilty on the main charge of high treason, and other related counts.
Only 30 of the accused were found guilty and subsequently sentenced.
Human rights lawyer, Norman Tjombe, quit last week as the legal representative of nine further accused, who are still on trial for treason.
Tjombe refused to reveal reason for his withdrawal to the Windhoek Observer.
“The clients requested that I withdraw from the matter and I did so. I’m unfortunately not at liberty to disclose why I withdrew, as that is covered by the attorney/client privilege. I don’t know who will represent them,” Tjombe said.
Questions sent to Shanghala remained unanswered.