A court ruling that allows the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to continue to keep 16 soldiers detained raises further serious concerns about their ability to have a fair trial, Amnesty International said today, following a decision announced by the Lesotho Court of Appeal.
The Appeals Court turned down a request by the soldiers to be placed under “open arrest”, a form of military bail, after they challenged their ongoing detention under “closed arrest” since May and June 2015.
The High Court had previously ordered that the men be released on “open arrest” but the LDF, who are detaining the men in Maseru Maximum Security Prison, did not comply with the ruling. Today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals thereby overruled the earlier High Court decision.
“Today’s decision by the Lesotho Court of Appeal to deny bail to 16 soldiers who have been held in maximum security since June last year raises serious questions about the Lesotho’s justice system,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.