Inmate seeks N$2.5 million in damages from government …claims violation of rights by Correctional Services

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

In a legal battle at the Windhoek High Court, Kassian Mukuve Mbathera, an inmate serving a 19-year sentence for murder, is pursuing a claim against Commissioner General of Namibian Correctional Service Raphael Hamunyela and five other defendants for damages and relief under common law.

Mbathera’s total claim amounts to N$2.5 million, addressing alleged violations of his rights during an incident that transpired in May 2021 and subsequent events.

He contends that the defendants, including Hamunyela and other government officials, engaged in wrongful, unlawful, and unconstitutional conduct against him.

The inmate’s particulars of claim state that he suffered cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, coupled with unfair discrimination and harsh treatment by government agents.

Mbathera further asserts violations of basic human rights under international law, inconvenience, contumelia, and denial of adequate and speedy healthcare.

“As a direct result of Defendants’ joint and/or several wrongful, unlawful, and/or unconstitutional conduct, Plaintiff wrongfully suffered cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment by government agents who undermined Plaintiff’s human dignity and/or intrinsic worth as a human being under common law alternatively under article 8 (2) (b) of the Namibian Constitution read with article 7 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” reads the documents.

According to the court documents, the core incident revolves around an alleged wrongful discharge from Katutura State Hospital, where Mbathera was scheduled for a medical operation in May 2021.

He claims that the correctional officers acted without following proper procedures or the law, leading to the cancellation of his operation.

The inmate alleges threats, refusal of communication with doctors, and humiliation by correctional officers.

Subsequently, Mbathera argues that his medical conditions, chronic Anemia, and Asthma, were disregarded, putting his life at risk.

Mbathera, who claims to be still suffering from pain and requiring urgent medical attention, seeks damages for continuous pain and suffering due to the lack of medical treatment.

In a separate legal matter from 2017, Mbathera had previously sued correctional services and education authorities for N$6 million.

The case involves allegations that he was denied the right to education, leading to mockery by fellow inmates after he couldn’t take the Namibia College of Open Learning examinations he had studied for.

Correctional Services, in their defence, emphasized that they ensured Mbathera’s examinations and registration fees were waived, and he was transported to the examination centre.

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