Soldiers cleared of mutiny rap in Lesotho - Amnesty

19 December 2017 - 10:25 By Timeslive
Lesotho Defence Force. File photo
Lesotho Defence Force. File photo
Image: Facebook/Lesotho Times

A military court has found 22 members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) not guilty of mutiny‚ which had been brought against them between May and June 2015‚ says Amnesty International.

Amnesty’s regional director for Southern Africa‚ Deprose Muchena‚ said: “The fact that these soldiers have been cleared of the spurious charges brought against them is a victory for justice.”

“For the past two years they have been persecuted simply for their perceived loyalty to certain military commanders.

“Some of the soldiers alleged that they were tortured. Some were held in inhumane conditions and denied adequate medical treatment whenever they were ill‚” Muchena asserted.

“Authorities must ensure the right to effective remedy and reparation for the victims and their families‚ as well as guarantees of non-repetition.”

Explaining the background to the case‚ Amnesty said a total of 23 members of the LDF were arrested between May and June 2015 for a suspected mutiny. In November 2017‚ one of the soldier’s was granted a court order for his case to be discontinued by the court martial. They were detained at Maseru Maximum Security Prison despite several court rulings ordering their release.

The soldiers were arrested for their perceived support for slain LDF commander‚ Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao‚ who was killed by members of the LDF on 25 June 2015.