SWAZILAND: COPS BLOCK FOREIGN JURISTS, ACTIVISTS

Salc : Staff Writer

MBABANE – There was tight security at the High Court in preparation for the hearing of suspended Judge Thomas Masuku yesterday.

At the entrance to the High Court were over 100 people, most of whom included lawyers, political activists and visiting foreign jurists.

They were, however, denied entry to the library where Justice Masuku’s hearing was held.

Plain clothed policemen and armed uniformed police officers flooded the High Court. From the gate to the library where the hearing was held, police were seen searching every corner.

Even station commanders and regional commanders were present, issuing instructions and orders to the deployed officers. A group of heavily-armed police officers took charge of the judge’s parking space and nobody was allowed too close.

As early as 8.30am, law enforcers were patrolling the place. At the gate, police had mounted a portable metal detector, which attendees were made to pass through, save for those who came by car. A person who wanted to move from the first floor to the second floor of the High Court had to seek permission from the officers, as members of the public were restricted from moving around. About four officers were deployed at each of the exit doors that lead to the second floor of the building.

But still, on the second floor, other officers had been deployed there.

Outside the High Court building was a police Casper which was parked adjacent to the Industrial Court.

So tight was security within the High Court that a passerby could easily tell that the event taking place inside was of huge public interest.

Only two courtrooms were in session, with Judge Bheki Maphalala presiding over a rape case.

Judge Masuku receives ceremonious welcome

MBABANE – Suspended Judge Thomas Masuku yesterday received a ceremonious welcome from the people who had come to attend his hearing.

The attendees included lawyers, political activists and visiting jurists.

Upon his arrival at 9:56am, Justice Masuku parked his car in the judges’ parking area and went to the chambers. At that time, about 100 people had gathered at the High Court entrance anticipating being allowed into the hearing.

Justice Masuku spent 15 minutes in the chambers before coming to meet the attendees. As he emerged to mingle with the attendees, many of them approached him, shook hands with him and further declared their support.

The judge met with his attorney, Sabela Dlamini, who was in the company of SA Advocate Henry Trengrove and Muzi Sikhakhane.

The judge’s learned repres-entatives were socialising at the entrance of the High Court.

Immediately after Justice Masuku greeted the attendees, his family, including his father, two sons and sister, showed up and they were also welcomed ceremoniously.

Former SFTU Secretary General Jan Sithole and the president of proscribed political group PUDEMO were also amongst those who welcomed Judge Masuku.

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