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Ailing Brigadier leaves prison


  • High Court orders Brigadier Mareka’s release from army detention due to ill-health and places him under ‘open arrest’ instead.
  • LDF immediately appeals decision, with the case set for hearing this week. 

army-bootsTefo Tefo

The High Court on Friday released Brigadier Thoso Mareka from Maseru Maximum Security Prison and put him under “open arrest” due to ill-health.

Justice Teboho Moiloa ordered the Brigadier’s immediate release on Wednesday, but the respondents—Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, LDF Military Intelligence Director Lieutenant Colonel Tumo Lekhooa, Defence Minister Ts?eliso Mokhosi and Attorney General Ts?okolo Makhethe—appealed the ruling.

In their application, the respondents asked the same judge to suspend his ruling pending the finalisation of their challenge.

Justice Moiloa then postponed the case to Thursday, when he dismissed the application to stay the execution of his order.

However, Brigadier Mareka, who has a serious eyesight problem, was only released on Friday when his lawyer, Advocate Christopher Lephuthing, brought the court order to the Maseru Maximum Security Prison, where he had been detained since his arrest on 5 June 2015 for allegedly being part of a plot to overthrow the army leadership.

Fifty-six soldiers have been arrested since 14 May 2015 because of the same reason.

However, responding to the appeal, Court of Appeal President Justice Kananelo Mosito said the case was urgent and should be heard on Wednesday this week. In the appeal, Brigadier Mareka’s wife, ‘Mathabo, is now the respondent while the LDF becomes the appellant.

Part of his order reads: “The respondent (Brigadier Mareka’s wife ‘Mathabo) to file her answering papers, if any, on Monday, the  6th of July 2015 and appellants to file their reply, if any, on or before Tuesday the 7th July 2015. The matter is to be heard on Wednesday 8 July 2015 at 9:30am.”

Meanwhile, after Justice Moiloa had refused the stay of execution of his order, LDF Deputy Commander Major General Khoantle Mots?omots?o filed an affidavit before the Court of Appeal to support the respondents’ case that  the judge had “misdirected himself” in his ruling.

In the affidavit filed on Thursday, Major General Mots?omots?o alleged that Brigadier Mareka would abscond if allowed to be placed under ‘open arrest’.

‘Open arrest’ is described as “a state in which a person is considered to be in custody and his/her movements are restricted, but is allowed to go about his/her normal daily business. House arrest, on the other hand, is when a person is confined by the authorities to a certain residence, and travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all.

Major General Mots?omots?o noted in his affidavit: “I aver that the honourable judge failed to apply his mind to the application (of stay of execution) because if he did, he would have found in favour of the appellants and granted the stay of execution pending appeal.

“I aver that the respondent (Mrs Mareka) is armed with an order to release Brigadier Mareka from close arrest and can execute it any time.

“I aver, further, that if the order is executed, the appellants will suffer great prejudice. The appeal shall be rendered a novelty.

“I further aver that we fear that Brigadier Mareka may flee the country as the charges he is facing are very serious in nature and the maximum sanction, if he is convicted, is a death penalty in terms of section 48(1) of the Lesotho Defence Force Act of 1996.

“The mere fact that he is semi-blind does not detract from the fact that he can flee as he can be assisted to flee the country.”

Major General Mots?omots?o also alleged in the affidavit that Brigadier Mareka could interfere with potential witnesses if he is not under close guard of the LDF.

“Under close arrest, he has to communicate with relatives within earshot of  members of the defence force and cannot communicate with anyone telephonically.

“Attempted mutiny and failure to suppress mutiny are offences that involve communication with other prospective conspirators,” he alleged.

However, a special Court of Appeal sitting is set to hear the case on Wednesday this week.


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