11 July 2018

Lesotho: No Justice Two Years After Lesotho Editor's Shooting

Maseru — A global human rights group has urged Lesotho to prosecute soldiers implicated in the near-fatal shooting of a newspaper editor over a controversial article about the defence forces chief.

Lesotho Times editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, was critically injured after his assailants him shot outside his home in the capital Maseru in July 2016 after his publication ran a story alleging the outgoing Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, was to receive an exit package of approximately US$3,5 million (about R47 million).

The amount was seen as extravagant considering the Southern African country's economic problems.

Mutungamiri has been unable to return to work due to his injuries and reportedly has to pay his own healthcare costs.

The trial of the five suspected attackers - all members of the military - arrested and charged with attempted murder in November last year has been postponed several times with no new date set.

Amnesty International decried the delay in bringing's attackers to justice as an affront to press freedom.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International Southern Africa Director, said the fact that Mutungamiri's case was still open, with no clear dates set to resolve it in court, meant he was denied the chance for closure.

"After two long years, Lloyd and his family deserve justice now," Mwananyanda said.

Media face a hostile environment in Lesotho, where self-censorship is rife amid harassment of journalists.

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