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King Mswati’s police officers release detained widow to assassinated human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko,Human Rights Defenders condemn harassment.

Thursday, 28th March, 2024

MBABANE:King Mswati’s police officers have released detained Tanele Maseko, the widow to assassinated human rights lawyer Thulani Rudolf Maseko. 

Eswatini Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Phindile Vilakati had not responded at the time of compiling this report.

The widow was grabbed,harassed and tormented by the police at the Oshoek Boarder in the early hours on Thursday and this, was shortly after receiving threats from the State through retiring Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo.

The ongoing harassment comes after the widow made statements alleging that, her husband was killed by a “horrible dictator”, Mswati is suspected to have unleashed his mercenaries to kill lawyer Thulani Maseko,the then Chairperson of the pro-democracy MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF).

The release of the widow was confirmed to this Swaziland News by human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi on Thursday.

Lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi rushed to Oshoek shortly after receiving information suggesting that, Tanele Maseko “has been detained” by the police.

“It’s true she has just been released” said the human rights lawyer.

In a joint public statement sent to this publication on Thursday, the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network and the Pan African Human Rights Defenders condemned the harassment of the widow to the assassinated human rights lawyer.

“The Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (AfricanDefenders) and the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SouthernDefenders) strongly condemns the unrelenting harassment of Tanele Maseko and her family. Around 21.50hrs (SAT) on March 27, 2024 Tanele was advised at Ngwenya Border post as she tried to have her passport stamped on entry into Eswatini/Swaziland that her travel document was flagged as belonging to a wanted person. She was immediately detained and intensively interrogated before being conditionally released. The detaining officer advised that it had to do with their investigation of the killing of her husband Advocate Thulani Maseko, who was gruesomely assassinated on January 21, 2023, in front of Tanele and their children in Eswatini. The arresting officer also advised Mrs Maseko that she had instructions to immediately seize her mobile phone and passport even without a warrant of seizure or an appropriate court order. Tanele was also ordered to appear at the Manzini Police Headquarters today, March 28, 2024 at 12 noon.

“We are deeply concerned by the continued harassment of Mrs Tanele Maseko by the authorities in Eswatini. The treatment that Mrs Tanele Maseko and her children are receiving amounts to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, that is totally banned under international law. The seizure of her passport is an arbitrary interference with her rights to freedom of movement and association.

She is within her rights to campaign for justice and accountability for the killing of her husband. That campaign for justice and accountability cannot be criminalised” said Hassan Shire,the Chairperson of AfricanDefenders and Executive Director of DefendDefenders.

King Mswati’s police officers release detained widow to assassinated human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko,Human Rights Defenders condemn harassment.
Widow Tanele Maseko.