Swazi editor arrested again

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IOL pic apr7 justice scales file Independent Newspapers .

Mbabane - A Swaziland editor facing charges of contempt was re-arrested on Wednesday after the country's top judge appealed an earlier ruling to set him free.

Bheki Makhubu, editor of The Nation, and his columnist colleague Thulani Maseko were initially released from custody on Sunday after a High Court judge overturned their arrest.

Judge Mumcy Dlamini ruled that a warrant for their arrest on March 18 was not in line with the law, setting them free.

However, on Wednesday Judge Mpendulo Simelane ordered that “a warrant of arrest be issued” adding that he will not “dwell on the merits of the case”.

This was after Chief Justice Michael Ramobedi had on Monday said he did not recognise the Sunday's court decision and ordered that they be taken back into custody.

The two men made a brief court appearance in the capital Mbabane on Wednesday and were re-arrested a few hours later, according to their lawyer.

“Both Bheki and Thulani have been arrested this evening,” said lawyer Ncamiso Manana.

The two were initially arrested last month after the independent magazine published a report questioning the detention of a government vehicle inspector who was detained for a week without being charged.

The magazine criticised the arrest as an abuse of authority.

Authorities claimed the articles interfered with the court proceedings, and charged them with contempt of court.

Media in Swaziland operates under strict regulations, where criticism of King Mswati III and his government is not tolerated. - Sapa-AFP



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