Lifers make bid for early parole
28 November 2021 | Justice
Three men sentenced to ultra-long imprisonments including life, are battling to be released on parole after serving more than half of their jail terms.
Immanuel Shikunga, who has served 26 years behind bars for a life sentenced handed down in May 1995, lodged an application this month against prison authorities for their failure to release him on parole after having met all necessary requirements.
Shikunga says that after more than twenty years in prison, he has qualified to be considered for release on parole, but that his continued imprisonment has left him “with no hope of ever being released from incarceration as those responsible for my release on parole are now protracting the matter”.
“I am now of a view that the respondents, irrespective of my good conduct within the correctional facility, now want to subjugate me to permanent incarceration with no hope of ever emerging from prison,” Shikunga’s court papers state.
He also stated that he is “long overdue for release” and that as part of his rehabilitation process he should be placed in a “positive position where I will be open and exposed to the opportunities that may result in my rebuilding a better life for myself after twenty six years in prison. I have given my fair due to the state as is and was required of me.”
Shikunga was convicted of the 1993 murder of former Omaruru mayor and veterinarian Ian Scheepers. Scheepers died after Shikunga, a former employee of Scheepers, stabbed him 23 times with a knife, while an accomplice held Scheepers down.
Another lifer making a bid for parole is Laurentius Koopman, who was sentenced to life imprisonment 21 years ago for a 1998 murder and robbery.
This is not his first bid for early release. In 2012 he joined several other lifers applying to the High Court for clarity on which policies govern the period after which lifers should be considered for parole. The application was later withdrawn.
He again made a bid for release in 2013, but his application was dismissed. The lifers argued that as per prison regulations and policies, they were due to be considered for parole after serving ten years.
Koopman’s latest application claims he was authorised to be released on parole in October 2020, but was rearrested in February this year due to a decision that he was released erroneously.
He argues that his re-arrest was unjustified and not in line with policies regulating parole for persons sentenced to life during the time when the prisons act of 1959 applied, which stipulated that lifers could be considered for release after serving ten years. Several other applications filed this month argue include the same argument.
Brothers Mckenzie and Wynand Adams, who have spent 23 years in prison for a murder and robbery conviction in 1998, also filed an application this month accusing prison authorities and the safety and security ministry of the “undue delay and/ or negligent and/ or deliberate protraction in the release of applicant's from the incarceration after having served twenty-three years in prison.”
They argue that they were due for parole consideration ten years into their sentence, and that after more than 20 years behind bars it is clear that the Namibian Correctional Service “has turned a blind eye on the issue.”
The fourth application filed this month was by Wilfried Hijambura Siririka who has accused relevant authorities of failing to consider him for parole after serving 13 years of a 20 year prison sentence, and of meting out “undue punishments” while he was behind bars.
Siririka was one of three men charged with the armed robbery of an 84 year old Gobabis man in 2005, whom they robbed of several firearms, a Rolex watch and various currencies amounting to more than half a million Namibia dollars.
In 2018, a Supreme Court judgment that ruled ultra-long prison sentences unconstitutional, and noted in their judgment that lifers become eligible for parole release after 25 years behind bars.