4 detained soldiers released

4 detained soldiers released

MASERU – FOUR soldiers accused of mutiny were on Tuesday released from Maseru Maximum Security Prison where they had been detained for 19 months.

In military terms they are now in open arrest which is similar to a bail in civilian courts. They are however still subject to military law and regulations.

The released soldiers are Corporals Letsilane, Chele, Liphoto and Private Pama.
Of the 23 soldiers who were in detention 12 have been granted open arrest.
The soldiers were arrested between May and June 2015 for allegedly plotting to mutiny and kill senior officers, including then Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

Army spokesman Brigadier Ntlele Ntoi told thepost that the soldiers will have to report to the Military Police three times a day.  They will report at 8am, 12pm and 4pm.

Ntoi said they have been released because of “their good behaviour”.
“They have been released by their commanding officer based on their good conduct while they were at the facility (Maseru Maximum Security Prison),” Ntoi said.

“It should however be remembered that they remain subject to military law and regulations. In addition they are required to meet other conditions that come with the release.”
“You will recall that some of the soldiers were released on the ruling of the courts.”

The continued detention of some of the mutiny suspects has sparked international outrage and their release has become one of the conditions the United States imposed on Lesotho to remain eligible for AGOA.

The SADC Commission has cast doubts over the credibility of the charges they are facing. Citing claims that some of them were tortured to either confess or implicate others, the commission recommended that the soldiers be released and their charges dropped.
The commission also suggested an amnesty, a route that the government has opted to take with the Amnesty Bill.

The bill has however sparked a furore, amid complaints that it seeks to grant amnesty even to those soldiers accused of killing Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. This is after the government said the bill will cover all soldiers accused of committing crimes between 2007 and 2015.

The Mahao family has said the Bill will promote impunity and set a wrong precedence.
Meanwhile the soldiers accused of munity are said to have also rejected the Amnesty Bill, preferring to go for trial.

Staff Reporter

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