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JUDGE’S TONE WAS SHOCKING - HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS

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MBABANE – The Lawyers for Human Rights in Swaziland (LHRS) has expressed shock and disbelief at the tone used by Judge Mpendulo Simelane when sentencing Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko yesterday.
The organisation said even though it saw it coming that Judge Simelane would deliver a harsh sentence, it never expected him to use the tone he used.


Secretary of the organisation, Sipho Gumedze described what happened in court as unfortunate. He said instead of being legal, the court become personal and political.
“It is a very unfortunate incident especially because there is a journalist among the accused. Journalists are the ones who help in making freedom of expression realised.


“The tone that was used by the court was very unfortunate. Somewhere within the judgment, the court said it wanted to send a clear message to all journalists in Swaziland. As an association, we have serious misgivings about that.
“The use of that tone was unwarranted.
“The court was supposed to confine itself to the matter at hand and not to be political and personal because the court’s fundamental duty is to serve justice.


Concerned


“More than anything we are concerned about the tone that was used,” he said.    
Chairman of the association, Maxwell Nkambule said Judge Simelane’s sentence had dashed hopes on the independence of the judiciary and the role of courts to uphold the Constitution.
“True we saw it coming but to think the court would unashamedly disrespect the basics on the protection of rights. Such is disgusting to say the least. The court is essentially saying there is no freedom of expression and free press,” he said.

 

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