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Lesotho's former first lady back in custody over murder of rival


The wife of former Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who was charged with the murder of her husband’s first wife, returned to prison on Wednesday after the court annulled her judicial review, an AFP journalist said.

Maesaiah Thabane, 43, was charged in February for her involvement in the 2017 murder of Lipolelo Thabane, the first wife of former head of government Thomas Thabane (2017-2020).

A few weeks after the crime, she had married Thomas Thabane.

Last week, the Lesotho Court of Appeal overturned the controversial judicial review measures she had enjoyed.

Judge Thamae Thamae told her she will remain in prison and will be reconvened on 16 June 2020.

Maesaiah Thabane, dressed in a tracksuit, brown coat and sneakers, simply replied to the magistrate: “Yes, I understand”.

Ms. Thabane had already spent a few hours in prison earlier this year before being released on parole in exchange for the payment of a bail of 1,000 maloti (about 50 euros).

After the cancellation of the judicial supervision measures from which Maesaiah Thabane benefited, the police could not immediately proceed with her arrest because she was in neighbouring South Africa with her husband who had come there for treatment.

She was arrested on her return to her country.

The murder of Lipolelo Thabane, a case with many twists and turns, has plunged Lesotho into a serious political crisis.

It led to the resignation of 80-year-old Thomas Thabane on 19 May, who was dropped by the coalition that had supported his government for three years.

In an interview with AFP in May, Thabane proclaimed his wife’s innocence saying it was a story being stirred up to try to implicate her.

He himself was implicated in the case and denied any responsibility. “I didn’t kill anyone, certainly not my wife,” he told AFP.

Thabane himself may still be charged.


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