Protest rights violated in Lesotho

Peaceful Assembly

Attempts to peacefully assemble are regularly met with heavy handedness in Lesotho. On 5th and 6th June, soldiers that are currently detained on mutiny charges were denied food and placed in solitary confinement because their children were planning a "fun walk" on Father's Day, 19th June, in protest over their fathers' detention. The soldiers were told to tell their children to stop the planned march if their punishment was to be ceased. Government denied that the soldiers were punished for a planned march by their children but some of the children and lawyers confirmed that the soldiers were threatened with more punishment including withdrawal of medication if the planned march went ahead on 19th June. In May 2016, the Alliance for Non-State Actors, a civil society group, was denied the right to protest by the police and were only granted the permission after approaching the High Court. However the High Court's permission had stringent conditions attached to it, including that the march must start at 9:30 AM and end at 11 AM on 14 May 2016. After the march, the police continued to threaten the Alliance, arguing that they had not abided by the order of the High Court by exceeding the time allocated.

Expression

On 29th April two men were detained for allegedly being administrators of the "Count Down to Elections 2015, 2016 or 2017" Facebook group, which has been responsible for releasing some sensitive government information. The two were released later the same day without charge.