Released Swazi critic vows more activism

2015-07-02 19:59
King Mswati III

King Mswati III

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Johannesburg - A critic of the government in Swaziland who was released from prison this week said on Thursday he will continue to campaign for human rights.

Swaziland's judicial system needs reforms and "the rule of law is the only way to go," lawyer Thulani Maseko told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Maseko and Bheki Makhubu, editor of Swaziland's The Nation magazine, had spent more than one year in prison after being found guilty of contempt of court for publishing articles lamenting alleged threats to judicial independence in the southern African kingdom. They were released on Tuesday after successfully appealing their convictions. The two men were originally sentenced to two years in prison.

"It feels great to be out of prison," Maseko said, adding that he had spent time at home with his family and learning how they coped during his absence.

Swaziland has held parliamentary elections, but King Mswati III, who inherited the throne in 1986, chooses the prime minister and his Cabinet. Critics say the government sharply curtails basic rights.

Despite his release, Maseko said there was still a lack of political will to embrace meaningful change in Swaziland, and that more international pressure and domestic activism was needed.

"The environment is presently very difficult and hostile to any form of dissent," Maseko said.

Read more on:    swaziland  |  southern africa

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