Swaziland: Editor and human rights lawyer released after 15 months in prison

| July 20, 2015

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An editor and a human rights lawyer were finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Swaziland at the end of June.

Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and editor Bheki Makhubu were arrested in March 2014, after they wrote and published articles in a local magazine that criticized the Chief Justice’s handling of a case involving a civil servant.

Mr. Maseko and Mr. Makhubu’s case raised many eyebrows as it violated their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial.

Mr. Makhubu says, “I’m hoping there is a lesson learned … we understand now what it means to have a constitution. It is not just a paper, it is a living thing.”

Phakama Shili is the advocacy officer at the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Swaziland chapter. He says: “The courts have vindicated the citizens of Swaziland. The ruling will set a good foundation for reforms in the manner in which freedom of expression is perceived in Swaziland.”

To read the full article, go to: https://www.ifex.org/swaziland/2015/07/02/editors_free/

Photo: (Left) Bhekithemba Makhubu and (Right) Thulani Maseko Credit: Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria