Thulani Maseko 320

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Thulani Maseko – L4L letter

Swaziland

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

Thulani Maseko and journalist Bheki Makhubu were arrested on 17th March 2014 after Chief Justice Ramodibedi had issued a warrant for their arrest on charges of criminal contempt of court. The charges arise from articles written by Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu in February and March 2014, in which they questioned circumstances surrounding the arrest of the head of the government vehicle inspection team, Vincent Gwebu. He had been arrested and charged with contempt of court after he had arrested the driver of a High Court Judge. The articles also raised questions about the integrity, impartiality and independence of the Swaziland judiciary in relation to the Gwebu case.

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 will keep on monitoring the case of Thulani Maseko.

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