Thulani Maseko was a courageous human rights defender, lawyer and state critic who refused to turn a blind eye to the government’s oppression of the people of Eswatini. On 21 January, he was shot and killed by unknown gunmen at his home in Luyengo, Mbabane.
Sign onto the below letter to demand Eswatini authorities promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate the killing of Thulani Maseko.
Hon. Pholile Dlamini-Shakantu
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
927 Mhlambanyatsi, Usuthu Link Road
5th Floor, Mbabane
I am writing to bring to your attention the unlawful killing of Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer, activist and former prisoner of conscience. On 21 January, Thulani Maseko was shot by unidentified assailants through an open window of his living room, in front of his wife. He succumbed to three shots fired, one to the head and two to the torso.
Although the motive behind his killing remains unclear, Amnesty International has reason to believe he was attacked in relation to his work as a human rights lawyer and defender as he regularly stood up against the state’s abuse of power. This included what many see as the mismanagement of the country’s resources, and called for the authorities to prioritise national development.
The day before Thulani Maseko was killed, King Mswati III reportedly said in a public address that those who are calling for democratic reform in the country would be “dealt with”.
I urge you as the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to ensure the unlawful killing of Thulani Maseko is promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigated and that anyone suspected to be responsible is brought to justice in a fair trial. I also urge you to ensure that the victim and his family are provided with access to justice and effective remedies. The authorities in Eswatini must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone, including to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly even if they hold opposing views.