SWAZILAND: JUSTICE/NEWS 24/12/7/18 SABANews 1
MASERU – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has called on authorities in LESOTHO to prove their commitment to press freedom by resolving the case of a prominent journalist, LLOYD MUTUNGAMIRI.
NEWS 24 says the ZIMBABWEAN born Editor of the LESOTHO TIMES newspaper is still awaiting justice TWO years after a shooting incident that nearly killed him.
The online publication says Mr MUTUNGAMIRI remained fighting for his life after a failed assassination attempt by suspected members of the military in 2016 at his house in the capital, MASERU.
It also quotes the AFRICAN INDEPENDENT as saying the journalist was shot on the drive way of his home as he was about to drive to work.
AMNESTY says he suffered the near-fatal gunshot wounds after his publication of an article alleging outgoing Defence Force Lieutenant General TLALI KAMOLI was to get an exit package of about THREE-MILLION-500-THOUSAND US dollars.
It says FIVE members of the military arrested and charged with attempted murder on 29 NOVEMBER 2017 appeared in court for the FIRST hearing on 13 DECEMBER, but the trial has never taken place again.
The rights group says Mr MUTUNGAMIRI has never recovered fully after the shooting and he needs medication, which has left him with excessive hospital bills; especially now when he is not able to return to work.
AMNESTY Southern AFRICA Regional Director MULEYA MWANANYANDA says the fact that the case is still open, with no clear dates set to resolve it in court, means he is denied the chance for closure.
He says after TWO long years, the journalist and his family deserve justice now, because the delay by the LESOTHO Government to bring Mr MUTUNGAMIRI’s attackers to justice, through a fair, independent, and impartial trial, is an insult to press freedom.
The rights campaigner says the trial of the soldiers suspected of trying to do the killing should send a clear message that targeting journalists is not tolerated in LESOTHO, but the current state of affairs shows a culture of impunity prevails./Sabanews/cam