Namibian Olympic boxer Junius Jonas remains in Brazilian custody

By Katrina Gowases

Namibian Olympic boxer Junius Jonas remains in custody in Brazil for allegedly attempting to sexually assault an Olympic village housekeeper.

The 22-year-old Jonas, who was Namibia's flag bearer at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, has been arrested for alleged sexual assault, four days after another Olympic boxer was also accused of sexually attacking two housekeepers in the Olympic Village.

Jonas is supposed to fight his first Olympic bout in the light-middleweight division against Hassan Amzile from France tomorrow.

Should Junius be found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison, according to Brazilian law.

The case is sub-judice.

Namibia National Olympic Committee president Abner Xoagub said the NOC ,IOC and others are working tirelessly on the case with the Namibian Embassy, as well as the NNOC President, SG and Chef de Mission.

He also noted that they are attending to a Moroccan boxer's case as well.

The 2016 Namibian Summer Olympic team expressed appreciation to the IOC and the Namibian Embassy for immediately getting involved in the Jonas matter.

Xoagub said that, to start the defense, they had to secure and engage the services of a legal team on Monday already, with the intention to intervene and get the official charges and statements from the complainant and a witness.

He explained that they realised at that point that the definition of "Attempted Rape or Rape" and "Sexual Harrassment" have been the same since 1992 in the Brazilian Legal System, which makes the allegations a serious crime, requiring the Namibian team to change their approach.

According to Xoagub, these past days have been solely devoted to the case. Following a series of consultations, they resolved to change their legal team/council, and started engaging a criminal lawyer who is fluent in both Portuguese and English to eliminate the translation and interpretation issues.

They also hired a sworn-in translator as the language barrier grossly impacted the first application for "bail". The second application was lodged with the support from the Namibian Embassy, IOC Legal Team and the Local Games Organising Committee Chair's Office.

The NNOC head assured Namibians that they are doing everything to get Jonas out before the upcoming weigh-in.

The Morrocan boxer who faces similar allegations missed the weighing deadline and was subsequently eliminated from the competition.

Xoagub appealed to all Namibians to keep them in their prayers and rally behind them.

He further noted that the team is positive and believes in the innocence of the boxer and flag bearer.

Six Namibian athletes are left to compete in the Games, including Junius Jonas, four marathon athletes and a mountain biker.