by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Washington, DC, United States
March 14, 1981
3 pages
Type: Press Release
Coverage in Africa: Angola, Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The press release says an urgent application filed on March 5, 1984 in the Supreme Court of Namibia (South West Africa) charges that at least 100 men, women and children have been held illegally and incommunicado for six years by the South African Defence Forces (SADF) in a military camp near Mariental, Namibia; the application, which is in the nature of a writ of habeas corpus for the release of the detainees, was financed by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and filed by correspondent attorneys at the Namibian law firm of Lorentz & Bone. The press release says the action was brought against the South African Minister of Defence, General Magnus Malan; the Administrator-General of South West Africa (Namibia), Dr. Willie van Niekerk; the General Officer Commanding the South West Africa (Namibia) Territory Forces; and the commander of the Mariental military camp, Major G.J. Coetzee. The press release says in May 1978, South African bombers and paratroopers invaded Angola and attacked the Cassinga refugee settlement some 150 miles within the Angolan border, over 600 Namibian refugees were killed, over half of whom were women and children, and some 120 refugees were forcibly abducted from Angola and taken to the Mariental camp by South African military forces; no charges have ever been brought against the captives; the South African authorities claim that the detainees are being held under the authority of Proclamation AG 9, a security regulation that permits indefinite incommunicado detention without charge or trial. The press release includes quotes by David Smuts of Lorentz & Bone and Gay J. McDougall, Director of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The press release discusses the International Court of Justice, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Red Cross, Benedictus Shilongo, Nikodemus Katofa, torture, electric shocks, human rights, self-determination, and South Africa's illegal occupation.
Used by permission of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root