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Statement of James R. Silkenat, president, American Bar Association Re: Convictions of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu

Statement of James R. Silkenat, president, American Bar Association Re: Convictions of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu

By John Glynn

The ABA is disappointed to learn that attorney Thulani Maseko and editor Bheki Makhubu were convicted and sentenced last week for contempt of court in Swaziland.  They were charged with the offense in a proceeding reportedly marred by procedural irregularities.  The charges were in apparent retaliation for advocating for basic human rights in Swaziland, including the right to a trial by an independent tribunal.   

The ABA reiterates that Mr. Maseko and Mr. Makhubu have the right under international law to publish their opinions concerning the administration of justice and the safeguarding of human rights in Swaziland.  The ABA is deeply troubled by the prosecution of an attorney in apparent retaliation for expressing his concern over lack of impartiality in the judiciary, and it views these convictions as a serious threat to the independence of the legal profession in Swaziland.    

Please click here for a biography and photo of James R. Silkenat, president of the American Bar Association.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news atwww.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

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