Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Swaziland human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine, have been jailed on remand for seven days on contempt of court charges.

The Chief Justice of Swaziland Michael Ramodibedi heard their cases in chambers away from the public. The men’s lawyer Mandla Mkhwanazi called the proceeding a ‘kangaroo court’.

The two men are accused of contempt of court for writing articles in the Nation, the only magazine of political commentary in Swaziland, criticising the circumstances surrounding the case of Chief Government Vehicle Inspector, Bhantshana Gwebu. Gwebu had been arrested and charged with contempt of court after he arrested a driver of High Court Judge Esther Ota. Gwebu spent nine days at the Sidwashini Correctional facility before he was released on E15,000 (US$1,500) bail.

Makhubu was also convicted in April 2013, along with the Nation magazine publishers, Swaziland Independent Publishers, of ‘scandalising the court’ after two articles criticising the judiciary were published in 2009 and 2010. Makhubu and the publisher were fined a total of E400,000 (US$40,000) by the Swaziland High Court, of which half had to be paid within three days or Makhubu would immediately be sent to jail for two years.  Both Makhubu and the publisher have appealed the conviction.

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