Upcoming hearing in case of Maseko and Makhubu
On November 3, 2014 a hearing in the case of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu is scheduled at the Supreme Court of Swaziland, in which the charges against them could be dropped. On 17 July lawyer Maseko and journalist Makhubu, were convicted of ‘contempt of court’ by the High Court of Swaziland. Shortly afterwards they were both sentenced to two years in prison. Normally ‘contempt of court’ is sanctioned with a 30-day prison sentence or a fine of about 2,200 Euros.
UPDATE: The appeal on 3 November 2014 was dismissed. For a diary of the hearing, see this link.
The conviction seems to be related to their critical statements in several journal articles in response to the arrest of an officer. The officer had arrested the driver of a High Court judge for a traffic violation. In the articles, Maseki and Makhubu questioned the integrity, impartiality and independence of the Swaziland judiciary.
In June, Lawyers for Lawyers sent letters to the authorities of Swaziland. Together with other organizations it is currently considering what action to take.
Ahead of the hearing, the #SwaziJustice international advocacy campaign has been launched in order to raise worldwide attention for the case of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu and increase pressure for their release. Watch this campaign video, based on the powerful defense statement written by Thulani Maseko in prison. The full text of his statement can be found here.
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