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2 critics of Swazi government sentenced to 2 years in jail after contempt of court conviction

Two government critics in Swaziland have been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of contempt of court for publishing articles lamenting alleged threats to judicial independence in the southern African kingdom.

Human rights groups have criticized the sentencing Friday of lawyer Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu, editor of Swaziland's The Nation magazine.

Judge Mpendulo Simelane said their "scurrilous articles" were aimed at tarnishing the justice system, and that the courts acted against the accused for the sake of national stability.

Maseko's wife, Tenele, says defense lawyers are considering whether to appeal the sentence. She says her husband is "content" because he believes his case has focused attention on human rights concerns in Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.