Thulani Maseko

Thulani Maseko


Thulani Maseko is a prominent human rights lawyer from Swaziland. He is senior member of Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland and the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network.

Thulani Maseko was firstly arrested on 17 March 2014. One day later, journalist Bheki Makhubu was arrested. Both were charged with the same offence: contempt of court. The suspicion is related to a series of critical articles written by Thulani Maseka and Bheki Makhubu in February and March of 2014 about the arrest of government vehicle inspector Bhantshana Gwebu. Gwebu was arrested after he had stopped a high court judge for a traffic offence. Maseki and Makhubu questioned the integrity, independence and impartiality of the judicial system in Swaziland. Bhantshana Gwebu remained in pre-trial detention for nine day before he was released on bail.

By judgment of 6 April 2014, the court ruled that the arrest warrants, charges and pre-trial detention were unlawful. Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu were released, but the next day already another arrest warrant was issued against them after the authorities appealed the court decision. On 8 April, both were arrested again. The appeal filed by their lawyers did not succeed.

On 13 June 2014, L4L wrote letters to the Swaziland authorities calling on them to release lawyer Thulani Masekoimmediately.

On 17 July, Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu were convicted for ‘contempt of court’ by a the High Court of Swaziland. Shortly after, they were both sentenced to two years in prison. That sentence is much heavier than the 30-days sentence or 2,200 Euro fine that is common for the offence. The judge found, referring to the constitution, that the right of freedom of expression is not absolute but limited.

On 30 June, the Swaziland Supreme Court ordered the release of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and journalist Bhekithemba Makhubu. The State conceded that it had no case against them and they were set free.

News aboutThulani Maseko

23 September 2015 Lawyers for Lawyers and 3 organisations submit joint UPR report
1 July 2015 Thulani Maseko released from prison
10 June 2015 UNWGAD calls for release of Thulani Maseko
24 October 2014 Upcoming hearing in case of Maseko and Makhubu

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