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Eswatini police detain prominent human rights activist, LGBTQ ally

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Eswatini police on March 28 detained a prominent human rights activist as she tried to return to the country. Tanele Maseko, the deputy chairperson of the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, was taken into custody at the Ngwenya Border Post between Eswatini and South Africa.

Reports indicate she was returning to Eswatini with her two minor children and an aide when authorities told her she was wanted.

SAHRDN said Maseko’s detention stemmed from her husband’s gruesome murder in January 2023. Thulani Maseko was a high-profile lawyer, human rights activist and LGBTQ rights ally who was highly outspoken against the country’s governance. “Southern Defenders has previously strongly condemned recent public statements from the government of Eswatini seemingly threatening Tanele Maseko for demanding justice and accountability for her husband’s murder,” said SAHRDN Chair Adriano Nuvunga. “Tanele Maseko is our deputy chairperson and human rights defender in her own right.

As a normal human being, she, together with her children are victims of the traumatic events of Jan. 21, 2023, and need to know the truth for closure and healing.” The Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network said Tanele Maseko’s detention is embarrassing and something not expected from a country that claims to protect all of its citizens. “We are deeply concerned by the continued harassment of Mrs.

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