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Writers Maseko, Makhubu given two-year jail terms for contempt of court in Swaziland

Reporters Without Borders deplores the two-year jail sentences that writers Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko finally received today for contempt of court.

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.”

He also deplored the growing tendency of the two journalists to write “scurrilous articles that have the propensity of tarnishing the reputation, authority and dignity of the courts.”

“This sentence is unfortunately not a big surprise as it was passed by a court that acted as plaintiff and judge at the same time,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We condemn both the sentence and the position that the judge took as regards the journalists. All news providers are threatened by this decision, which Judge Simelane openly declared to be a warning to the media.”

The more than 100 days that Makhubu and Maseko have already spent in detention will be deducted from the time they have to serve.

To learn more about this case, please click here to see IFEX's interactive timeline.

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