Namibia: Ethiopia Child-Murder Accused Asks for Release

ALLEGED child killer Kristofina Amutenya says she has not been given any justifiable reason for being detained in Namibia after she was returned to the country from Ethiopia, where she is claimed to have killed her two children in December.

Amutenya makes this claim in an affidavit filed at the Windhoek High Court yesterday, before she made a first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on two charges of murder and one count of attempted murder.

In the affidavit, she states she is asking the High Court to order her release from police custody "on the basis that I have not been provided with any reasons as to why I am in custody in Namibia".

She also says her "right to liberty is being extremely curtailed [... ] without any reasons being provided".

The affidavit was filed in support of an urgent application in which Amutenya is asking the court to declare her arrest and detention in Namibia unlawful, and to order that she should be released from custody.

Amutenya (34) was arrested in Ethiopia, where her former husband is stationed as the trade attaché at the Namibian embassy in Addis Ababa, on 13 December last year, after she allegedly killed her and her ex-husband's two children, Jenay Haufiku, aged nine, and the three-year-old Jane Haufiku. She is also accused of having tried to kill her stepson.

Amutenya and her husband were divorced in Namibia near the start of November last year. Her husband was given custody of their children, subject to her having reasonable access to them.

During her court appearance before magistrate Alweendo Venatius, defence lawyer Kadhila Amoomo said Amutenya had not been given any documentation indicating on what basis she had been removed from Ethiopia and arrested and detained after her arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday.

Amoomo added that without that documentation he was not able to advise Amutenya on the lawfulness of her arrest and detention.

The control prosecutor at the court, Hans Thourob, informed the magistrate that Amutenya had been detained in Ethiopia, but that she had not been charged in that country as she had diplomatic immunity as the spouse of a Namibian diplomat.

Thourob also said according to information available to him, the Ethiopian authorities returned Amutenya to Namibia after the Namibian government refused to waive her diplomatic immunity. However, that immunity lapsed on her arrival back in Namibia, and she was then arrested, he said.

Thourob also said while the crimes she is accused of were committed in Ethiopia, Namibia's courts would have the jurisdiction for her to stand trial.

Having been informed of Amutenya's urgent application in the High Court, Venatius postponed the criminal case to today.

In the High Court, deputy judge president Hosea Angula scheduled the hearing of the urgent application for tomorrow afternoon, after government lawyer Jurie Ludwig asked to be given time to prepare an answer to Amutenya's affidavit.

Amutenya says in the sworn statement that she appeared in court in Ethiopia on various occasions from December to March this year, but could not understand the proceedings because she was not provided with an interpreter.

She also says an Ethiopian police officer informed her on Monday that she was being deported from Ethiopia, before they boarded an aircraft which took them to Hosea Kutako International Airport.

She says she has not been given any document or notice to support her deportation from Ethiopia to Namibia. When she was taken to court yesterday, she was also not provided with any documentation, "and I still do not know on what basis I am being kept in detention and why I am set to appear or why I was brought to Namibia", she claims.

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