Treasons and Murder accused soldiers lawyers withdraw services in protest

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By Itumeleng Koleile

Maseru- Lawyers representing former Lesotho Defence force Commander Tlali Kamoli and his co-accused soldiers in treason, murder, and attempted murder charges have withdrawn their services due to sub-human conditions forced on the accused soldiers as they wait their trial.

The accused soldiers have been in detention for more than three years now and they continue to wait for their trial and have been denied bail amid numerous attempts to be granted bail.

Now, Senior Counsel Zwelakhe Mda Kings Counsel has said due to the inhumane conditions that their clients have been subjected to, they have jointly decided to withdraw from the cases.

Mda said the lawyers’ appeal is that no other lawyers should agree to represent their clients lest they be used to legitimize illegal persecution of their clients.

The soldiers were represented by Mda, advocate Karabo Mohau KC, attorney Qalehang Letsika, advocate Letuka Molati, advocate Kao-Theoha, advocate Ratau, advocate Kao, advocate K. Letuka, advocate N. Mafaesa and advocate L. Tuke.

The said lawyers have all withdrawn their services on account that they would be complicit to the injustice purposely meted on the accused soldiers.

Mda also said through participating in the due process, they would be glorifying the injustice in so far as their clients are concerned.

“They are systematically being denied food to a point that they attend cases on empty stomachs,” Mda said.

He added that continuity to represent their clients would mean they have been accorded due justice when that is not the case.

He however said they are not simply discarding their clients because as soon as the sub-human conditions are addressed and their demands are fulfilled, they would resume their duties.

He said they have decided to go down that route as they have exhausted all their options without success.

Not only did Mda say the accused soldiers’ clients have been denied justice, but he also pleaded with his colleagues in the profession who will be enticed into stepping in not to be tempted to doing so.

However, on behalf of the prosecution, advocate Masiphole told the court today’s date was elected for hearing as such it should not be treated as the day for submissions.

Moreover, Masiphole said the defense counsel, Mda, is trying, by all means, possible to practice delay tactics.

“It should be noted that the crown council is ready to proceed with the matter,” he told the court.

Additionally, Masiphole brought to the attention of the court that it should be noted that the accused individual no longer has legal representation.

“As per the constitution, the offenses against the accused are capital offenses, as such, they cannot appear in person on such offenses as they may be subjected to a death penalty if however they are found guilty,” advocate Masiphole noted.

According to Masiphole the defense counsel is only trying to hold the entire justice system in ransom and also looking for ways not to continue with the case, while also threatening their colleagues against stepping in.

Contrary to Masiphole, advocate Tuke said they (defense counsel) are not in any way trying to hold the justice system in ransom.

Justice Tshosa ended making an order that following the lawyers’ official withdrawal, the accused individuals no longer had a legal representation as such, the registrar of the high court has been ordered to appoint council for them in order for their cases to resume.

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