The trial of activists Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Michael Amushelelo, who have been charged over their alleged involvement in a prohibited public demonstration about unemployment in Namibia, is scheduled to continue next month.
Magistrate Linus Samunzala postponed the trial to 11 October in the absence of Nauyoma and Amushelelo in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura yesterday.
The two men’s trial, which started before Samunzala two and a half weeks ago, did not proceed as planned yesterday, because Nauyoma has been booked off due to illness.
Amushelelo was not in court either for the postponement of the matter. His defence lawyer, Samuel Kadhila, informed the magistrate that Amushelelo had been transported from prison to the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Judge JP Karuaihe Street, instead of to the court in Katutura.
Nauyoma and Amushelelo have denied guilt on charges of public violence, malicious damage to property and the incitement of public violence.
The charges are linked to a planned public demonstration about Namibia’s high unemployment rate that was organised to take place in Windhoek on 21 March this year.
Nauyoma, Amushelelo and Popular Democratic Movement member of parliament Inna Hengari were arrested after the police prohibited the demonstration from going ahead on Namibia’s Independence Day public holiday.
Charges against Hengari were withdrawn on 25 August, before Nauyoma and Amushelelo denied guilt on all three counts they are facing.
Three police officers have testified as state witnesses during the first day of the trial.
Two of the officers told the court Nauyoma and Amushelelo were already in police custody when a police vehicle was damaged – an incident that led to the charge of malicious damage to property which the two men are facing.
The rear window of the vehicle was shattered when a stone was allegedly thrown at it.
According to the two police officers, the protesters were walking in a group along streets in Katutura after they had been ordered to disperse at the place where they had gathered for their planned demonstration.
The witnesses also told the court the protesters became aggressive after Nauyoma and Amushelelo had been taken into custody.
Amushelelo has been held in custody since his arrest.
An application by him to be granted bail was dismissed by a magistrate a month after his arrest, and an appeal against that ruling was dismissed by two judges of the High Court in August.
Nauyoma was granted bail in an amount of N$5 000 after he had been held in custody for about two weeks.