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Amoomo challenges constitutionality of Amushelelo case charges

Amoomo challenges constitutionality of Amushelelo case charges

Zorena Jantze

DEFENCE lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo in the plea hearing of Michael Amushelelo and seven others has made an application to challenge the constitutionality of a section of the Riotous Assembly Act which Amushelelo and his co-accused are charged with, adding that it violates the constitutional rights of the accused persons.

Amoomo made this application at the plea hearing of eight accused persons in which they all pleaded not guilty to all charges leveled against them.

The defence attorney further argued that Section 18 the Riotous Assembly Act of 1956 is invalid as it contravenes article 12 of the Namibian constitution which protects the right to a fair trial, Article 17 which protects the right to political activity and Article 21 which guards freedom of expression.

COURT IN SESSION: File photo for illustrative purposes only.

He added that as such, the lower court, (the Katutura Magistrates court) should refer the matter to the High court for a summary trial after which it will pronounce itself on the matter.

Accused two to eight which includes, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, Lawrence Mwatile, Jan-Epafras Mukwilongo, Emily Mununga, Anna Amupanda, Risto Ithikwa, and Julieta Amushelelo all pleaded not guilty to the two respective counts they were all charged with which include, Incitement to commit an offence, and public violence.

Michael Amushelelo, accused one, also pleaded not guilty to the three counts under which he is charged. The charges are; Assault through threat, Incitement to commit an offence and Public violence. Under these charges, Amushelelo is accused of procuring members of the public to commit an offence or loot by taking properties belonging to Chinese businesses on 12 May. On the count of assault through threat, it is alleged that Amushelelo threatened a Chinese business owner by telling him that he would burn him inside the shop, if he did not close shop.

Amushelelo who had a smile plastered on his face had to be called to order by presiding magistrate, David Mukuyu after he requested for a Chinese translator to read the charges during the proceedings.
“If you need a Chinese translator, we can remand the matter to another day?” the Magistrate queried, to which Amushelelo said that it would be no longer necessary.

Further to this, Magistrate Mukuyu, explained that this was merely a section 119 application which would be sent to the Prosecutor General’s (PGs) office on decision on whether to prosecute or not.
To this, Amoomo added that the summary trial application and the PG’s decision are not mutually exclusive and that a decision can be made on both matters.
Magistrate Mukuyu postponed the matter to 5 August to make a ruling.

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