LESOTHO: Journalist released on bail; treason charge lifted

JUNE 28, 2007

Thabo Thakalenkoala, Harvest FM

Chief Magistrate Molefi Makara reduced an initial charge of high treason against Thabo Thakalenkoala and allowed the radio journalist to be released on US$140 bail. The treason charge carried a possible death penalty. The new charge is subject to a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to US$14,000. Thakalenkoala must report to authorities if he wants to leave the capital, Maseru, while the case is pending; he was also ordered not to speak publicly about the case.

Thakalekoala was arrested at the private Harvest FM radio station in Maseru on June 22 after he read on the air a letter that urged police to arrest Prime Minister Phakalita Mosisili and members of his cabinet for corruption. Thakalekoala said the letter was written by members of the Lesotho national army.