Two years after a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by security forces, authorities in eSwatini continue to resist calls for democratic reform.
Countries in the SADC region are being urged to take a human rights based approach when crafting cybersecurity and cybercrime legislation.
The Spaces of Solidarity network is adamant that the failure to carry out a thorough and credible investigation into the murder of human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, will only foster the growing culture of impunity in eSwatini.
“New Frame” journalists Magnificent Mndebele and Cebelihle Mbuyisa were detained, assaulted and forced to delete footage of the funeral of a police shooting victim, which they had just attended.
IFEX is among the groups that have endorsed a MISA letter to King Mswati III expressing deep worry and calling on authorities to do everything possible to ensure that media workers are protected and are not subject to wanton attacks by security forces.
IFEX joined a number of groups in petitioning the Prime Minister to ensure that the internet, social media platforms, and all other communication channels are open, secure, and accessible regardless of the protests that were taking place in Eswatini.
Eugene Dube, the editor of the popular news site “Swati Newsweek”, and two journalists are being hounded by authorities for stories critical of King Mswati.
Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko were acquitted by the Supreme Court on 30 June 2015. The editor and human rights lawyer had been charged with contempt of court in 2014 for writing articles criticising the Swazi judiciary.
On 19 March 2015, Thulani Maseko was placed into solitary confinement for 21 days, following a letter he wrote on the one-year anniversary of his detention.
They don’t write for The New York Times or The Daily Mail. And the Swazi government is counting on just that to keep Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko in jail for criticizing the judiciary.
The high court of Swaziland awarded damages of 550,000 lilangeni (41,000 euros) against the Times of Swaziland. The record sum is tantamount to a death sentence for the country’s only privately-owned daily.
As the 15 member states of SADC prepare to meet for the 34th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on August 17 and 18, 2014, the three human rights organizations drew attention to serious human rights concerns in Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The harsh sentence follows Makhubu’s and Maseko’s conviction on contempt of court charges for separate news articles criticising the kingdom’s chief justice, Michael Ramodibedi, published in the independent news magazine, The Nation.
The judge in charge of the case, Mpendulo Simelane, said the sentences were intended as “a deterrent not only to the appellants to abstain from similar behaviours in the future but also to others who may have a like-minded scheme in contemplation.”