South African journalist Paul Nthoba has expressed his desire to go back home, and has pleaded with the South African authorities to ensure his safe return.
Nthoba fled South Africa in May and has been in hiding in Lesotho, claiming his life was in danger after he was allegedly assaulted and insulted by the police in Ficksburg, Free State.
On May 15, at least four police officers in Meqheleng, in Free State province, beat Nthoba, the owner and editor of the weekly Mohokare News local newspaper, who had photographed them while they were on patrol enforcing the area’s COVID-19 lockdown, according to news reports and the journalist.
The officers later charged Nthoba with obstructing law enforcement under a COVID-19 regulation of the Disaster Management Act of 2002, he said. If convicted under that law, Nthoba could face a fine and up to six months in prison.
He also said he had noted that police brutality was also high in Lesotho.
“I, therefore call on the government of Lesotho and that of South Africa to work together to uproot the attitude of brutality that occurs within the police.”