Namibia: Dausab Sues Prisons Over Privileges

Andre Friedel Castri Dausab (39), convicted for the murder of a former girlfriend by stabbing her 27 times with three knives and jailed for life in 2018 by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute, has sued the Namibia Correctional Service (NCS) over the confiscation of his laptop.

He was found guilty of slitting the throat of 33-year-old Gofaone Motlamme, a trainee pastor at the United Lutheran Theological Paulinum College in Pioneerspark Extension One on 22 February 2014.

He now accuses NCS of unlawfully confiscating his properties, including a laptop, an external drive and a laptop backpack. He further accuses NCS of subjecting him to torture for intentionally prohibiting him from access to his personal computer that contains memories "dear" to him of lost loved ones.

"The applicant was already in a lot of pain and suffered already for loved ones lost and now hearing that he never got back properties that contain these dearest memories is traumatic and unbearable," Dausab wrote in his handwritten founding affidavit. According to him, he has requested - ever since his sentence - for permission to own and use a personal computer for educational and legal purposes. His request was approved in October 2019, and his family brought his laptop to him in December 2019. However, Dausab said, the laptop was immediately seized by NCS officials, causing him to write countless letters to the prison hierarchy to have access to his laptop.

He was granted access to his laptop at Hardap Prison, where he is serving his time. On 23 January 2020 and thereafter, he permitted limited use of the laptop - to be used only at the education office and programme area of the prison. He said, after that, he and other laptop-owning inmates were instructed to hand over their laptops and data-saving devices with all passwords to NCS-IT for screening at the head office. After that, he said, he has made countless enquiries to the whereabouts of his laptop and accessories, but no avail. He was eventually told his laptop contains 'unauthorised software' and that it was instructed the laptop should not be returned to him.

It was advised he should apply to buy and receive another laptop with authorised software.

"It is very disturbing and frustrating to be granted access to something and then it is taken away - and then granted again and then it is taken away... sentimentally valuable content that can never be replaced," he stated in the affidavit.

Dausab is now asking the High Court to order NCS to compensate N$1 000 for each day from 5 March 2018 for the pain and suffering caused via various acts of discrimination, procrastination, defamation, needless or unjustifiable suspension and nullification of the essential content of his "non-dirigible" constitutional fundamental rights and freedoms, including waste of his time and efforts.

He further asked for his properties back in the same condition they were taken - and if the properties are damaged or altered in any way, N$20 million for the laptop with loss of essential data, N$40 million if the laptop is unreturnable, N$5 million for the external drive with loss of data, N$10 million for external drive unreturnable and N$1 500 for the bag pack if it is not returned in the same condition it was taken.

He asked the court to order NCS not to threaten, harass or abuse him in any manner and to withdraw all disciplinary or criminal charges instituted against him on or before the application.

He is further asking the court to interdict NCS from interfering with his possession of electronic items used for educational and legal purposes. The matter is presided over by Judge Thomas Masuku and is set to be heard on Tuesday if the two parties cannot agree to a settlement.

The NCS is represented by Nelly Tjahikika from the Government Attorney's Office.

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