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Amushelelo to wait for bail appeal decision

Detained protest leader Michael Amushelelo is facing a further period of three weeks in custody before he is due to hear if he has succeeded with an appeal to be granted bail.

Judge Naomi Shivute and acting judge Philanda Christiaan yesterday postponed the delivery of their judgement on Amushelelo’s bail appeal to 14 August, after they heard oral arguments on the appeal in the Windhoek High Court.

Amushelelo (32) has been held in custody since he was arrested in Windhoek on 21 March in connection with a planned demonstration about unemployment in Namibia.

A bail application by Amushelelo was dismissed in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura on 20 April, after the magistrate who heard the application noted that Amushelelo has cases on similar charges pending in Windhoek and at Walvis Bay, and concluded that he has a propensity to commit similar offences.

Amushelelo, social activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Popular Democratic Movement member of parliament Inna Hengari are jointly charged with counts of public violence, malicious damage to property and incitement of public violence in connection with the planned protest on 21 March.

Nauyoma and Hengari have both been granted bail in an amount of N$5 000.

In written arguments filed at the High Court, Amushelelo’s lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, is proposing that the court should grant him bail of N$2 000, on condition that he should report three times a week to the police officer in charge of the investigation of his case.

In his arguments, Amoomo says the magistrate who turned down Amushelelo’s application to be granted bail made a mistake by ignoring testimony by the investigating officer, who he argues conceded there was no evidence that Amushelelo committed the offences with which he is charged.

Amoomo also says in his filed arguments that the investigating officer indicated Amushelelo was arrested because of his attitude to the police.

Amoomo further argued that a police officer conceded during his bail hearing that the alleged offences of public violence and malicious damage to property that Amushelelo is accused of were committed when he was already in police custody.

State advocate Johannes Kalipi argued that the magistrate was not wrong to refuse Amushelelo’s application for bail.

In his written arguments, Kalipi says Amushelelo has shown a propensity to commit offences similar to the ones he is accused of in the case in question, and that the interests of justice would be prejudiced if he is granted bail again.

Amoomo also says in his arguments that even in cases where someone is facing serious charges and has other pending cases or has previously been convicted, Namibia’s High Court has previously stated that bail should not necessarily be refused on those grounds.