NAMIBIAN Olympic boxer Jonas Junias Jonas' Rio incarceration was temporarily halted when he arrived back in Namibia on Wednesday.
Jonas had been stuck in the Namibian embassy in Rio for the past eight months, while his court case for alleged sexual assault dragged on, but he was finally allowed to return to Namibia pending the finalization of his court proceedings in Brazil.
Jonas made a surprise appearance at a hastily arranged press conference at the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) shortly after arriving back at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on Wednesday.
NNOC vice president Jesse Schickerling addressed the media, saying that the High Court in Rio de Janeiro had allowed Junias to return to Namibia for the time being.
“On 11 August 2016 the High Court of Brazil issued an order placing Jonas Junias Jonas into the custody and care of the Namibian Military Attache, Mr. Erastus Lazarus,” Schickerling said, reading from a prepared NNOC statement.
“Earlier this year the Ministry of Defense decided, however, to recall Lazarus to Namibia,” he added.
According to Schickerling, Jonas' legal practitioners then launched an application for an order to either have Lazarus replaced by another official of the Namibian embassy, or to relax the conditions to allow Jonas to return to Namibia.
The High Court subsequently decided to relax Jonas' conditions.
“We are pleased to confirm that on Monday, 24 April, the High Court in Rio decided to relax Jonas' conditions, allowing him to return to Namibia, pending the finalization of proceedings in Brazil,” Schickerling said.
He, however, added that Jonas might have to return to Brazil.
“Jonas is currently awaiting a ruling by the High Court of Brazil on an interim application heard during January 2017. Depending on the outcome of such proceedings, Jonas might have to return to Brazil for continuation of the trial. Should this happen Jonas must, in terms of the latest order be accompanied by Mr Erastus Lazarus,” the statement read.
“In the meantime, Jonas arrived in Namibia earlier today and has been reunited with his family,” he said.
Jonas said it was great to one back in Namibia.
“I feel great; being back in Namibia is the greatest feeling,” he said, but added that he was very well treated in Brazil.
“The treatment I received Brazil was great and I felt at home under the care of Mr Lazarus, I was in very good hands.”
Jonas said he had continued training at the Namibian embassy.
“One of the embassy members bought me a punching bag and Mr Lazarus bought me pads, so I was training the whole time at the embassy.”
Jonas said it was a tough ordeal but he managed to come through it stronger.
“I had my dark moments, but I learnt to uplift myself and Mr Lazarus was also there to keep me going, so I can say that I am much stronger mentally now,” he added.
He said he still planned to continue fighting as an amateur boxer.
“I still want to win a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and surely also at the 2020 Olympic Games, so I'll train for that and then I'll turn professional,” he said.
“For me it was unfair not to get a chance in Rio. I worked hard for it, my whole journey was geared towards the 2016 Olympics and if I got a medal I would have stopped and turned pro. But now I must still reach that goal,” he said.
- Title: Jonas arrives back in Namibia
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- Date: 4:35 PM