Namibia: Namibian journalist suing SWAPO
Windhoek - A Namibian journalist is suing the ruling South West Africa Peoples' Organisation (SWAPO) for defamation after the party labelled him a former anti-independence fighter and a mercenary, a court heard on Monday.
John Grobler, 48, alleges that in 2009 Swapo mouthpiece newspaper Namibia Today in an editorial referred to him as an "ex-Koevoet and a "mercenary".
The Koevoet, Afrikaans for "crowbar", was a notorious counter-insurgency police unit under the country's rule by apartheid South Africa.
Groble's lawyer Hannchen Schneider told the Windhoek High Court that the remarks were against freedom of speech and damaged his "professional reputation".
The newspaper is also published on SWAPO's website and the editorial drew angry responses from the public, with readers posting comments that Grobler "is worse than Osama bin Laden" and "his hands are soaked in the blood of the nation".
Glober, who now fears for his life, said the editorial damaged his reputation.
SWAPO's secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who is also minister of justice, is a second respondent in the case, which is set down for hearing until Friday.
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