American sues the government for almost N$1.3 million

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

One of the citizens of the United States of America that stands accused of the murder Andre Heckmair is suing the Namibian government for N$1 260 000 for alleged violation of his human rights.

According to documents filed last year in June at the Windhoek High Court, Kevan Townsend and Jaco Kennedy, who stands accused of a different crime, are citing the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, the Commissioner General of the Namibian Correctional Services, the Officer in Charge of the Windhoek Central Prison and the Ombudsman as respondents in their founding statement.

Townsend and fellow American citizen Marcus Thoams are on trial for the murder of Heckmair on 7 January 2011 by shooting him assassination style in his head at Gusinde Street in Windhoek.

Townsend claims that the lack of safety features inside the back of Namibian police vans used by Nampol to transport him from the prison amounts to torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

“The transport of the plaintiff by Nampol in police vans without any safety features inside the back is inconsistent with the relevant safety and roadworthy laws and regulations under the Road, Traffic and Transport Act. The conduct of Nampol amounts to wrongful discriminatory treatment towards plaintiffs which is inconsistent with Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution,” read the document.

According to the documents in 2015 Townsend was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Windhoek whilst detained in the back of a police van without safety features of which he received medical treatment at a state hospital.

In his damages claim, Townsend said the N$1.2 million would compensate him for emotional shock, trauma, unfair discriminatory treatment by government agents, violation of fundamental human rights under international law, as well as inconvenience and discomfort.

“During escorts of the plaintiff, Nampol often drives at high speed which causes the plaintiffs to clutch onto each other or the steel benches inside the back of the van and constantly peek out of the front to be on the lookout for possible motor vehicle accident or an emergency braking situation and thus exposing plaintiffs to excessively dangerous and life-threatening situations. Such conduct or treatment by Nampol unto the plaintiffs creates a sense of constant fear, anxiety, discomfort, humiliation and sense of lack of self-worthiness as humans every time the plaintiffs are escorted from prison by Nampol,” he claimed.

In addition, Townsend is also requesting the court to order the prison to allow him to use televisions, cooling fans and use FM radios and MP3 headsets

This would not be the first time Townsend sued the government. In 2016 he sued the government for N$ 3 million because of the conditions in which he is been kept in prison.

Townsend at the time claimed that he was the victim of a gross violation of human rights when he was kept in solitary confinement in the Windhoek Correctional Facility for 18 months from 4 July 2015 to January 2016.

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