Fishrot defendants express fears for prison security – News

Former Namibian National Fisheries Corporation (Fishcor) CEO Mike Nghipunya has informed prison authorities that he fears for his safety if detained with other inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Centre.

This is said in an affidavit by one of Nghipunya’s co-accused in the Fishrot fishing quota fraud, corruption and extortion case, James Hatuikulipi, which has been filed at the Windhoek High Court.

Nghipunya has told a prison officer “that every time he passes through the corridors of the labyrinth that is (Windhoek Correctional Centre), he and others (including me) are almost always threatened, heckled or mocked by hardened inmates who They accuse us of having eaten their fish, ‘they stole their money’ and some even threaten to fill the orifices of our bodies with that type of fish,” says Hatuikulipi in his sworn statement.

The plea was filed in support of an urgent application in which Hatuikulipi and his fellow defendants in the Fishrot case are seeking an interim interdict to prevent prison authorities from transferring them from the section of the Windhoek Correctional Center where they have been detained to another. part of the prison, where they are being held with more detainees awaiting trial than in the section where they were previously held.

Hatuikulipi, Nghipunya, Sakeus Shanghala, Ricardo Gustavo, Pius Mwatelulo, Otneel Shuudifonya and Phillipus Mwapopi are seeking the interdict, after prison authorities transferred Hatuikulipi, Nghipunya, Gustavo, Mwatelulo and Shuudifonya from Section C of the prison to another unit at the beginning of May.

Hatuikulipi also said, in another sworn statement presented to the court, that Gustavo, who suffers from serious heart and lung problems, has been hospitalized after being transferred to the prison’s Echo Unit, “as a direct consequence of his exposure to the environment” in Threw out. Unit.

He added that in the Echo Unit, he and the other Fishrot defendants who were transferred out of Section C share a community cell with people accused of serious crimes such as murder and rape.

Hatuikulipi said Echo Unit is known for smuggling cannabis through unconventional means.

He related: “Just in the last fortnight, an inmate was indecently assaulted when contraband was removed from his rectum. The vapors produced by herbs inserted into the body orifices have a noxious and strange odor that has tormented us all (…).”

The prison authorities oppose the request.

In a statement also filed in court, Namibia Correctional Service Commissioner-General Raphael Hamunyela says the Fishrot defendants were placed in individual cells after authorities investigating their case requested that they be isolated until it was concluded. investigation of your matter.

It was not intended to keep them in that part of the prison indefinitely, and once the investigation into their case was completed it was decided to move some of the accused to another part of the prison, Hamunyela said.

During a hearing before Judge Boas Usiku yesterday, Shanghala argued that his and the other plaintiffs’ right to a fair trial, to be treated with dignity and to be held in a safe environment are being infringed as a result of the decision to transfer some of them out of Section C of the prison.

Shanghala said his co-defendants who have been transferred do not have access to computers or the Internet, which they need to prepare for their trial, at the Echo Unit.

However, they are allowed to visit Section C, where they have access to computers and the Internet, every day, the court reported.

Shanghala said: We are victims of the situation we find ourselves in. (…) So we say, judge, please protect our right to a fair trial.”

On behalf of the prison authorities, lawyer Slysken Makando argued that detainees do not have the right to remain in a specific section of the Windhoek Correctional Centre.

Makando also argued that since Hatuikulipi, Nghipunya, Gustavo, Mwatelulo and Shuudifonya were moved out of Section C, the court cannot issue an injunction to stop an event that has already occurred.

Usiku reserved his sentence, which he said will be issued on June 10.

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