Alert / Media Alert

Respected Swazi journalist Bheki Makhubu files appeal against 2 year jail term for criminal contempt of court conviction

MISA-Swaziland | Media Alert
August 18 2014

In the appeal papers, according to local media, lawyers for Makhubu say judge Mpendulo Simelane erred on several matters when convicting the editor of The Nation magazine.

The appeal, according to the Sunday Observer, also touches on the silencing of critical voices in the kingdom as well as the lack of an independent judiciary.

Many local and international observers condemned the sentence of Makhubu and his co-accused Thulani Maseko, saying that the trial highlighted the crumbling state of free speech while raising more questions over the independence of the justice system.

Makhubu and Maseko were found to have disrespected controversial Swazi chief justice Michael Ramodibedi in opinion pieces. The conviction also noted that their articles had brought the justice system into disrepute.

Lawyers for the two writers argued that they were expressing sincerely held opinions that are in the public interest.

Read more:
http://www.observer.org.sz/news/65130-bheki-challenges-judge-mpendulo’s-judicial-notice.html

It was reported in yesterday’s Observer on Saturday that Nedbank in Lesotho, where Ramodibedi is from, is suing the Swazi CJ for an outstanding debt.

Read more: http://www.observer.org.sz/news/65097-bank-sues-justice-ramodibedi.html

And click here to read more about the other ongoing legal dramas facing the Swazi CJ.
http://mg.co.za/article/2014-04-25-lesotho-judge-resigns-in-face-of-impeachment

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