The first treason trial to be held in Lesotho opened in the capital, Maseru, on Thursday (14 November).
GV People outside court building
SV Accused talk to defence lawyers (2 shots)
SV and CU Accused enter court (2 shots)
GV Crowd of spectators outside courtroom
SV Accused into prison van after trial
SV Exhibits taken out of court and loaded into police truck
Initials OS/1658 OS/1702
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Background: The first treason trial to be held in Lesotho opened in the capital, Maseru, on Thursday (14 November).
Thirty two men are accused of attempting to overthrow the Government in this small southern African state entirely surrounded by South Africa.
The men, it is alleged, were involved in armed attacks on police stations in the country's northern region. They are all supporters of Lesotho's main opposition Basotholand Congress Party.
If guilty they face the death penalty.
Among the accused is Mr. Shakhane Mokhle, Treasurer-General of the Basotholand Congress Party and brother of its exiled leader Mr. Ntsu Mokhle.
Two South African senior counsel are acting for the accused and one for the prosecution.
In the alleged attacks some 50 people were reported to have been killed. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial was adjourned until 25 November to enable defence lawyers to complete their case.
SYNOPSIS: The main court in Lesotho's capital, Maseru, on Thursday where 32 man went on trial accueed of trying to overthrow the Government by force.
All the accused are members of this tiny country's opposition Basotholand Congress Party. It's said that in January they mounted armed attacks on police stations in the northern region and killed 50 people. They all pleaded not guilty to the charge. Lesotho is only 12,000 square miles....entirely surrounded by South African. And South African lawyers represented both the defendant's and the prosecution.
It's the first time that a charge of high treason has been tried in Lesotho and the avert caused much local interest.
If found guilty all the accused face the possibility of the death penalty. But Thursday's trial was merely a preliminary to a hearing ???ow set for the 25th of November....the defence needed more time to prepare their case.