Army re­leases mutiny sus­pects

Lesotho Times - - News - Brian Chi­wanza

LE­SOTHO De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli yes­ter­day avoided be­ing jailed for con­tempt of court af­ter com­ply­ing with a High Court or­der to re­lease three sol­diers de­tained on al­le­ga­tions of mutiny.

The re­leased sol­diers, Lance-cor­po­ral Aupa Mo­hasi, Lance-cor­po­ral Toma Ne­hemia Jobo and Cor­po­ral Mo­lato Mo­hat­lane, are among the 22 of­fi­cers fac­ing mutiny charges be­fore a Court Mar­tial and who have been in de­ten­tion since their ar­rest be­tween May and June this year.

In her rul­ing on Mon­day, Jus­tice ‘Mase­shophe Hla­joane found Lt-gen Kamoli and Di­rec­tor of Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence Lt-col Tumo Lekhooa in con­tempt court for not re­leas­ing the sol­diers, and or­dered the duo to per­son­ally ap­pear in court the fol­low­ing day to ex­plain why they should not be jailed for the of­fense.

In his court ap­pear­ance on Tues­day, Lt-gen Kamoli apol­o­gized to Jus­tice Hla­joane, say­ing he would com­ply with the court or­der.

“Af­ter the judge gave an or­der to re­lease the de­tainees from de­ten­tion, I was ad­vised to ap­ply for what is called stay of ex­e­cu­tion,” Lt-gen Kamoli said.

“And I wish for this court to un­der­stand me from the be­gin­ning that I am not well versed in law and I am only a com­man­der of the LDF.

“I was ad­vised, af­ter the judg­ment was de­liv­ered, that the or­der must be com­plied with. In that con­text we made an ap­pli­ca­tion to ap­ply for stay of ex­e­cu­tion and ap­pealed the judge­ment in the Court of Ap­peal but at the same time we com­plied with the judge­ment.”

In her rul­ing, Jus­tice Hla­joane said the LDF’S con­duct gave false hope to the court and the de­tainees that they were com­ply­ing with the court or­der.

“Such things should not to be al­lowed to hap­pen in a demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion, and where the rule of law is the or­der of the day,” she noted.

“The court has al­ready re­viewed, cor­rected and set aside the or­der that had put the ap­pli­cants in de­ten­tion. They have to be re­leased from de­ten­tion.”

Lance-cor­po­rals Aupa Mo­hasi and Toma Ne­hemia Jobo were pre­sented to the court and re­leased yes­ter­day.

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