Fishrot accused smuggled phones for ‘fair trial’
13 April 2021 | Crime
Fishrot accused Sacky Shanghala and James Haitukulipi reportedly used smuggled cell phones for ‘secure’ conversations about their upcoming trial with their lawyers, because they believe government-supervised cell phones are tapped and would compromise their right to a fair trial, Deputy Commissioner Manfred Jatamunua of the Windhoek Correctional Facility said.
Jatamunua added, however, that the matter is still under investigation and said “we are still waiting for their recommendation as to what action is to be taken”.
“Remember, these people are still awaiting trial and we are yet to decide what type of punishment they should get. That they were found with these things is already a forgone conclusion, but the disciplinary procedure that should follow is now challenging. Unlike people who are in a communal cell, they are already in a single cell,” he said.
According to him, the correctional facilities have tried their utmost best to make communication with lawyers easy and such clandestine activities with contraband cellular phones cannot be condoned.
“During my interview with them, they had a problem discussing their case with their lawyers through the telephones which we have in the prison. We have telephones in the facility which is called Telo. They were afraid it was going to be recorded and it would compromise their access to a fair trial. That is the explanation they gave; we did not go to the extent to open the discussion to see who they talked with. The phones were used predominantly at night,” he said.
Responding to reports that the phones were smuggled in by prison officials, Jatamunua said this possibility cannot be ruled out as there may be bad officials amongst the good ones.
Both Gilroy Kasper and Apolus Shimakeleni, the lawyers who represented Hatuikulipi and Shanghala, denied any knowledge of these developments.
Shimakeleni said he was not briefed on the matter and referred queries to prison authorities.