Lesotho: Authorities must protect key witnesses to the murder of Lipolelo Thabane

Reacting to the news that the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane, is facing imminent charges of the murder of his late wife, Lipolelo Thabane, and the attempted murder of her acquaintance, Thato Sebolla, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said:

It has been almost three years since the scandalous killing of Lipolelo Thabane and no one has been brought to justice
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

“It has been almost three years since the scandalous killing of Lipolelo Thabane and no one has been brought to justice. With such powerful suspects facing murder and attempted murder charges – and a long history of impunity in the country – it is imperative that Lesotho’s authorities ensure that those people whose testimony is central to the case, are kept safe from harm.

“Already one of the individuals considered a key witness has died in mysterious circumstances, and others have fled the country after receiving death threats. The authorities have failed to provide adequate protection to them, despite police knowing that their lives are in danger.

It is vital that the enquiry identify everyone responsible for ordering, planning and executing these crimes. All perpetrators must be brought to justice in fair trials
Deprose Muchena

“With First Lady, Maesaiah Thabane already facing murder charges relating to this sinister case, and now the Prime Minister also on the charge sheet, it’s clear that they will receive public scrutiny for their involvement. However, it is vital that the enquiry identify everyone responsible for ordering, planning and executing these crimes. All perpetrators must be brought to justice in fair trials.”

Background

The late wife of the Prime Minister of Lesotho Thomas Thabane, Lipolelo, was murdered in a hail of bullets on 14 June 2017 while she was driving home in Ha Masana outside Maseru. She was driving with her acquaintance Thato Sebolla at the time of the attack who was also shot, sustaining injuries.