February 19, 2016
Lawyer Khotso Nthontho was arrested and released on Friday 12 February 2016 Lawyers representing 23 soldiers accused of mutiny continue to be at risk There is concern for an escalation of threats against the legal community Amsterdam / Vancouver, 19 February 2016 – Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) are concerned about the arrest of lawyer Khotso Nthontho on 12 February 2016 and the ongoing threats against lawyers in Lesotho. Particularly the lawyers representing 23 soldiers accused of plotting a mutiny seem to be at risk. The arrest and release of lawyer Khotso Nthontho Prominent Lesotho lawyer Khotso Nthontho was arrested in the early evening of 12 February 2016, on allegations of perjury. According to the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) it is understood that these allegations relate to Mr. Nthontho’s representation of some of the soldiers charged with mutiny. An urgent High Court Order was obtained for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Nthontho and he was released under heavy security shortly before midnight on 12 February 2016. While he was under arrest, Mr. Nthontho’s family home in Maseru and personal vehicle appear to have been shot, causing serious damage to both. Mr. Nthontho has been formally charged with perjury on 16 February 2016. The case is remanded to 26 February 2016, at which point the court will determine a hearing date.