Thulani Maseko and Bhekithemba Makhubu
Thulani Maseko is a senior member of Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland and the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, and Bhekithemba Makhubu is a columnist and Editor-in-Chief of The Nation. They were arrested on March 17, 2014 on charges of criminal contempt of court following the publication of articles criticizing the judicial system of Swaziland. The articles, published in February and March, questioned circumstances surrounding the arrest of government vehicle inspector, Bhantshana Vincent Gwebu and criticized the lack of impartiality of the Swazi judicial system.
The legality of the arrest, detention and charges against Thulani and Bheki was successfully challenged and the Swazi High Court ordered them released from custody but two days later they were rearrested and detained when the State appealed the ruling. On July 17, 2014, Thulani and Bheki were convicted for “contempt of court” by Swaziland’s High Court. The conviction followed a grossly unfair trial where the presiding judge, Mpendulo Simelane, had declared the trial would be held outside normal law and procedures. On July 25, Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko were each sentenced to two years of prison without bail.
Thulani Maseko and Bheikithemba Makhubu have been RELEASED.
- Cops Keep Guard as Lawyers Drink. Thulani Maseko, though released, still faces police harassment in Swaziland. (February 7, 2016, Times of Swaziland).