Alert / Media Alert

Judiciary not independent in Swaziland, chief justice should be in the dock – say lawyers for jailed writers

MISA-Swaziland | Alert
July 3 2014

Yesterday in Swaziland’s high court lawyers for jailed writers “declared that the country’s judiciary is not independent and lacks authority”, reported the Swazi Observer.

The lawyers for journalist Bheki Makhubu and columnist Thulani Maseko — who have been detained for over 100 days as their high profile case plays out — said it is chief justice Michael Ramodibedi who should be in the dock on contempt of court charges. 

Makhubu and Maseko were charged with criminal contempt of court in March after writing opinion pieces criticising the actions of Ramodibedi.

They were remanded into jail after a closed meeting in the chief justice’s chambers. In April Makhubu and Maseko were freed from prison after high court judge Mumcy Dlamini found their initial arrests were unlawful.

Two days later, on April 9, another high court judge Mpendulo Simelane – who also features in the articles written by Makhubu and Maseko – sent them back jail where they been since.

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