Hornkranz sparks another lawsuit

06 April 2020 | Police

JANA-MARI SMITH

WINDHOEK

The police and the army are being sued for N$300 000 by another Namibian who claims that an unprovoked attack by members of Operation Hornkranz caused him hearing loss that required surgery.

Fares Tjaverua joins at least 14 others who have sued or are preparing to sue members of Operation Hornkranz and its successor, Operation Kalahari Desert, for multiple human rights abuses including excessive force and violence.

In papers filed at court last October, Tjaverua said the attack on him took place in Katutura on 27 April 2019.



What happened

After Tjaverua's female friend filmed a group of police and soldiers forcibly entering a private residence and assaulting partygoers, police allegedly turned on her and began assaulting her. Tjaverua said he then grabbed his friend's cellphone and put it in his pocket.

Shortly afterwards, the soldiers and police, according to the court papers, turned on him and began slapping him and hitting him with a baton.

Tjaverua said he sustained serious injuries to his face and body and later needed surgery to repair a perforated eardrum. He is suing for damages amounting to N$300 000 for pain and suffering and future medical expenses.

The three defendants – the safety and security minister, the inspector-general of the Namibian police and the defence minister – deny all allegations of wrongdoing by the police and soldiers. They argue that under certain circumstances, officers are allowed to stop people recording their actions in the execution of their duties.

In responding papers, Tjaverua's lawyers reject this argument. They say there is no law or regulation permitting members of the police or army to request the public to stop recording operations “in any circumstances”.

In March, lawyer Norman Tjombe filed three lawsuits on behalf of four clients claiming damages totalling more than N$1 million against the police operations. The Legal Assistance Centre has six cases in court currently, which could cost the state more than N$1.8 million in damages, and an additional five cases are currently in pre-litigation.