ERNST Lichtenstrasser, the man who enjoys war veteran status and who claimed to have been a specialist military advisor to the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia during the country’s Struggle for Liberation at the time of his arrest in Karibib about three weeks ago, made it clear that he did not fatally shoot the director of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT), 72-year-old Eckhart Mueller, and his deputy, the 60-year-old Heimo Hellwig, when he arrived at Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court.
While Lichtenstrasser was being helped out of the police van in which he was brought to court under heavy police guard, he claimed his innocence.
“I did not do this. You should reassess your claims that I am the guilty person,” he said as police led him to the court holding cells.
Although he was not asked to enter a plea, Lichtenstrasser was given an opportunity to address the presiding magistrate during his first court appearance, where he was formally notified that he is charged with the double murder of the NIMT bosses at Arandis on 15 April at the entrance to the administration building of campus.
He made use of the opportunity to state in court that he has been on a hunger strike since his formal arrest on 22 April.
He complained about the hygiene in the police holding cells, as well as the fact that he is not able to see his private physician for a special medical condition that he suffers from.
Before he was remanded in custody until the 24 July this year, Magistrate Nelao Brown ordered that Lictenstrasser be incarcerated at the Walvis Bay Prison while he awaits his next appearance.
The order did not suit the vocal murder accused and he begged the court to allow him to be held at the Arandis Police station because it is much cleaner and brings him closer to his wife and doctor who need to see him regularly.
The application was denied and the order for him to be held at the Walvis Bay Prison was upheld.
Lichtenstarasser was apprehended in Karibib on Tuesday, 16 April, when investigators identified him as a person of interest in the double murder.
Upon his initial arrest in Karibib about 36 hours after the double murder took place in Arandis, police found that he had ammunition in his possession for which he could not give an explanation or produce a license for the corresponding firearm.
He was held for questioning by detectives at the Walvis Bay police station until the Thursday afternoon.
The accused person was then rearrested on charges of possession of unlicensed ammunition shortly after police set him free as a person of interest in the double murder at Arandis.
In 2013, Lichtenstrasser also appeared in the Karibib Magistrate’s Court while incarcerated for an extended period of time on charges related to the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition when police discovered a large arms cache on a farm in the Karibib district.
At the time, the suspect was arrested in Tsumeb a short while after the discovery of, amongst others, two unlicensed semi-automatic rifles and a large amount of ammunition of different calibres on the farm Tsaobis.
When Lichtenstrasser was apprehended in Tsumeb in connection with the illegal arms cache in Karibib, the arresting officers discovered an explosive device resembling a hand grenade in his car.
During his latest appearance in the Karibib Magistrate’s Court, Lichtenstrasser was remanded in custody until 27 May this year.