Critical Swazi editor, lawyer convicted

Comment on this story
IOL swaziland King Mswati Reuters Swaziland's King Mswati III. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Mbabane - A Swaziland court Thursday convicted a magazine editor and a human rights lawyer of contempt of court for articles critical of the government and judiciary.

Judge Mpendulo Simelane said freedom of expression was not an absolute right.

“The accused told the public that there's no law in Swaziland and the courts are corrupt,” he said in delivering his verdict.

“Journalists think that just because they have the power of the pen they can write anyhow under the guise of freedom of expression.”

Bheki Makhubu, editor of political magazine The Nation, and Thulani Maseko, executive member of Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland, have been in custody since their arrest for articles published in February and March this year.

The reports criticised apparent government and court abuses.

The journalists were arrested in March, released briefly and then rearrested in April.

Sentencing was postponed indefinitely.

Criticism of absolute monarch King Mswati III and his government is outlawed, and courts have come down hard on perceived opponents.

Makhubu was handed a suspended three-month prison term in May for an article written four years ago that compared the country's chief justice to a high school punk.


sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines