IFJ and FAJ demand release of journalist and lawyer jailed in Swaziland

The International Federation of Journalists and its African group, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), have together asked the release of Bheki Makhubu, editor of “The Nation-Swaziland”, and his lawyer Thulani Maseko, who have been jailed since 18 March 2014 for publishing articles critical of the judiciary in Swaziland. “The King Mswati III of Swaziland should order the release of both the journalist and his lawyer after one year in prison”, said Mohamed Garba, President of FAJ. “FAJ is raising serious concerns on the permanent attempts by the Kingdom of the Swazi authorities to muzzle all freedoms” added Garba. According to reports, the Kingdom of Swaziland has been portrayed as one of the most repressive regimes in Africa and freedom of expression and freedom of association have been under siege since time immemorial. Bheki Makhubu and lawyer Thulani Maseko mark one year in a Swaziland jail for publishing articles critical of the judiciary. The journalist was first jailed for writing stories critical of the judiciary in an independent news magazine and the lawyer representing him was later jailed as well. The IFJ, together with FAJ, call on all human rights and freedom of expression organisations to express solidarity, raise their voices and lobby the Swazi King for the release of the two prisoners languishing in jail after an unconstitutional closed court hearing.