Swaziland Thulani Maseko arrested again
21 April 2014

Swaziland Thulani Maseko arrested again

On 9 April, human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko was arrested for the second time, shortly after he was released following a verdict of the high court. Thulani Maseko is suspected of ‘contempt of court’.

Thulani Maseko was firstly arrested on 17 March 2014. One day later, journalist Bheki Makhubu was arrested. Both are charged with the same offence. The suspicion seems to be 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. Their lawyers have appealed the arrest; they will have to await the outcome in custody.

L4L is concerned about the situation as Thulani Maseko is charged and limited in his liberty of speech because of an article he wrote as a lawyer. This violates the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. L4L keeps on monitoring the situation closely and will take action when necessary.

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