15 November 2012

Namibia: Taxi Drivers' Trial Starts in Windhoek

A WARRANT of arrest was issued for eight taxi drivers who did not show up for the start of their intimidation trial in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court in Katutura yesterday.

The other 63 taxi drivers all pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Conchita Olivier.

Originally, 72 taxi drivers were arrested at the beginning of last year after their protest against increased traffic fines turned violent.

One of the taxi drivers has died in the meantime.

The 71 men are charged with intimidation under Proclamation AG 24 of 1989.

Two of them also face a charge of robbery, Public Prosecutor Hans Thourob said yesterday.

He said that the State would start presenting evidence today. The trial is on the roll until tomorrow.

They are all out on bail of N$1 000. The ones who did not arrive at court yesterday had their bail money provisionally forfeited to the State.

Initially, the accused men were also charged with counts of malicious damage to property, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and public violence.

They were alleged to have damaged a police vehicle during a protest in Katutura in January 2011. The prosecution also charged that they assaulted a police officer and resisted, hindered or obstructed a senior police officer while he was carrying out his duties.

On the charge of public violence, it was alleged that the men assembled, marched and caused a riot in which members of the Namibian Police were assaulted with sticks or stones, and a police vehicle was damaged.

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