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Setback for detained soldier

by Lesotho Times


High Court Judge  Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi (8)Tefo Tefo

High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi will preside over a case in which Corporal Montšuoe Motseko of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is fighting to be released from the Maseru Maximum Security Prison.

The trial, set for 27 August, is the result of Corporal Motseko’s urgent application filed before the court last week in which he was seeking an order compelling LDF Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and the LDF’s Military Intelligence Director Lieutenant Colonel Tumo Lekhooa to set him free.

Corporal Motseko’s argument is his detention since 25 June this year without being tried in the Court Martial is affecting his family since his wife has to leave for studies at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) as the academic year starts this month.

The soldier also fears if he is not released, his wife would have to abandon her studies.

The case had been set for yesterday, but was moved to 27 August after it was discovered the judge would be occupied until that date.

In an affidavit to motivate his release, Corporal Motseko made damning allegations that he was forced to implicate the late former LDF commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao and Lesotho Mounted Police Service Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana in a plot to topple the army commander.

According to the army authorities, the mutiny was planned between August 2014 and May this year.

The allegations resulted in the arrest of more than 50 soldiers, among them Corporal Motseko.

In his affidavit, Corporal Motseko alleges he was promised amnesty from the mutiny charges if he agreed to testify and implicate Brigadier Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana during the impending Court Martial.

However, the Southern African Development Community has resolved that the Court Martial proceedings should be suspended to allow a Commission of Inquiry the regional bloc established last month, to complete its probe into the country’s security and political troubles.

Corporal Motseko further stated he repeatedly refused to implicate anybody when persuaded by Major Bulane Sechele.

The corporal further said he had only agreed to implicate the duo and other soldiers to avoid being tortured again by his colleagues who had arrested him and allegedly tortured him at Setibing army base.

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