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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Murder of  human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko condemned

Maseko was shot dead in Eswatini on Saturday night by unknown attackers.

Questions have been raised surrounding the murder of human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

Maseko was shot dead on Saturday night by unknown attackers in Luhleko, around 50 kilometres from the capital Mbabane.

Maseko was a leading human rights lawyer and columnist in Eswatini who had a pending court battle with King Mswati III over the monarch’s move to rename the country Eswatini by decree, according to AFP.

He was also the founder of MSF, a coalition of opposition parties, associations and churches.

His death comes just hours after the king challenged activists fighting to end Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Amnesty International shocked

There has been an outpouring of grief for Maseko.

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, was shocked by Maseko’s death.

“The murder of Thulani Maseko is tragic. Former Amnesty prisoner of conscience, he was a leading human rights lawyer, a pillar of the ongoing struggle for democracy in Eswatini and a wonderful steadfast partner of  Amnesty. We are all devastated.”

“On 25 July 2014, Thulani Maseko was sentenced to two years in prison after summary proceedings on contempt of court charges related to two articles published in The Nation which questioned the independence and integrity of the Swazi judicial system.”

Callamard said Amnesty has documented “increasing sinister tactics of the authorities, targeting and silencing opposition and activists”.

“We will leave no stone unturned until justice has been rendered for Thulani’s murder. Those who killed and ordered his killing must be held to account.”

ALSO READ: The country formerly known as Swaziland adapts to ‘more African’ name eSwatini

EFF condemns assassination

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has condemned the assassination of Maseko.

“The merciless killing of comrade Maseko is a sign of desperation from a state that has lost its legitimacy and authority to preside over the affairs of the people of Eswatini. Mswati and his mercenaries may have killed him but they will never kill the idea of democracy whose time has come.”

“The EFF calls on the people of Eswatini to remain steadfast and fearless as the wheels of change are now turning and democracy will soon reign supreme in this beautiful land,” the party said.

ALSO READ: Eswatini government hits back at King Mswati murder allegations

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