14 February 2016
JOHANNESBURG – Prominent Lesotho lawyer Khotso Nthontho, one of five legal men on an alleged “hit list” circulated late last year, was arrested on charges of perjury on Friday night, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) said.
Nthontho had represented a number of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) soldiers currently detained under mutiny charges, the SALC said in a statement on Saturday.
Nthontho has faced repeated threats and intimidation by the LDF, both in and out of court, in recent months.
“It is understood that the charges against Mr Nthontho relate to his representation of a client at the court martial and, in particular, his assistance to his client in attesting to an affidavit in which concerns were raised about the partiality of the court martial members,” the SALC said.
Lawyers representing Nthontho obtained an urgent court order from the Maseru High Court late on Friday night, securing his release.
“Mr Nthontho was eventually released under heavy security shortly before midnight on Friday. Mr Nthontho’s home and vehicle have been damaged in his absence by what appear to be gun shots.
“SALC is deeply concerned about Mr Nthonto’s safety and that of the other lawyers who have similarly defended the human rights of detained and accused soldiers under immensely stressful and threatening conditions.”
This escalation of threats against these lawyers follows the release of the “Phumaphi Commission” report, which affirmed the disturbing levels of lawlessness and violence within the defence force, the SALC said.
The litigation centre will hold an “emergency meeting” in Johannesburg on Monday to discuss the developments.
– Africa News Agency