Namibia: Father Sues Cops for Arresting Nine-Year-Old Son

14 September 2021

A RESIDENT of Onandjaba in the Omusati region is suing the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security for N$160 000 for allegedly unlawfully arresting and detaining his nine-year-old son.

According to court documents filed at the Oshakati High Court, the man (38) claims his son was arrested by police officers on 3 December 2020 with three other people near Okahao in the Omusati region.

The three were suspected of theft in the Erongo region.

The man claims his son was arrested while in the company of his uncle, who was wanted by the police at the time.

The boy was in the Okahao area to visit his grandmother.

His father, who is a teacher at Onandjaba, says in court documents his son's arrest and detention were unlawful, wrongful and arbitrary.

He says his son was not a suspect in the commission of any offence.

"The arresting officers, despite knowing my son was not to be charged with any offence, nevertheless arrested and detained him in a blatant abuse of power and violation of his civil liberties and rights as a child," he says.

The man says the arrest was in conflict with his son's rights to liberty and freedom as provided for in the Namibian Constitution.

His son's arrest and detention violated Article 15 of the Constitution, which prohibits the detention of children below the age of 16.

The father says the boy experienced the arrest as traumatic, and that it also traumatised himself as he had spent a sleepless night agonising on the whereabouts of his son.

"In the premise, the first plaintiff (son) suffered general damages a follows: as a result of wrongful arrest and detention in violation of his civil rights in the amount of N$40 000, pain and suffering in the amount N$40 000.

"Mental anguish exacerbated by his age and loss of liberty in the amount of N$20 000," the father states in his particulars of claim.

The man says he himself suffered damages as a result of mental and psychological anguish and distress in the amount of N$60 000.

The police have filed their intention to defend the case.

Home affairs minister Albert Kawana yesterday said it would be unwise for him to comment on a case before the courts.

"Let the law take its own course, and when it is referred to us, we will deal with it," he said.

Kawana said he has not received any report from police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga regarding the incident.

The Namibian has not revealed the identity of the man and his son in order to protect the minor.

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