29 June 2012

Namibia: Rape Suspect Not Fit to Stand Trial

RAPE suspect Mathias Aibeb must be detained under psychiatric care until the President decides to order his release, it was decided in the High Court in Windhoek on Wednesday.

Due to mental illness Aibeb is not fit to stand trial on charges of rape, Judge Nate Ndauendapo ruled. He however agreed with an argument of State advocate Innocentia Nyoni, that Aibeb did not suffer from a mental illness or defect at the time that he allegedly committed some of the offences he is accused of in early 2006.

Judge Ndauendapo directed that Aibeb should be detained in a psychiatric hospital or prison until the President orders his release.

Aibeb is accused of raping a seven-year-old girl at Fransfontein in the Kunene Region twice on February 22 2006, and raping a mentally handicapped man, again at Fransfontein, on March 3 2007 and March 25 2009.

Judge Ndauendapo's finding that Aibeb was not mentally ill at the time of the alleged offences in February 2006 means that Aibeb could still be prosecuted on those charges once his mental condition has improved to such an extent that he is considered to be able to understand court proceedings and to make a proper defence in court.

A psychiatrist who observed Aibeb during April, Dr Seddie Alibusa, reported to the court earlier this month that Aibeb is suffering from chronic schizophrenia, that he is not fit to stand trial, and that he cannot be held criminally responsible for the crimes he is accused of.

Another psychiatrist, Dr Ndahambelela Mthoko, who had observed Aibeb in July and August 2008, told the court last week that she could not dispute Dr Alibusa's diagnosis of Aibeb's current state of mental health.

She however concluded that at the time of the alleged offences in early 2006, and when he was observed by her in mid-2008, Aibeb was not suffering from a mental illness.

Aibeb was represented by defence lawyer Mese Tjituri.

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