Two pro-democracy MPs in Africa's last absolute monarchy Eswatini were found guilty on Thursday of terrorism and murder in connection with the wave of anti-regime protests that rocked the country in 2021.
Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were tried by a court in Mbabane nearly two years after their arrest in July 2021.
They had pleaded not guilty to charges of inciting protests.
"I find the accused guilty on all charges," said Judge Mumcy Dlamini.
They could spend up to 20 years in prison. The judge went on to say that their sentences would be handed down "at a later date to be determined."
Mabuza and Dube were detained during a wave of protests calling for democratic reforms.
The regime's police brutally suppressed these protests, and dozens of protesters were killed.
The two MPs had specifically called for reform of the complex electoral system in which political parties, while theoretically authorized, are not permitted to participate.
The country formerly known as Swaziland will hold parliamentary elections on September 29.
These elections, however, are unlikely to change the political landscape in the southern African country of 1.2 million people, which has been ruled since 1986 by King Mswati III, who has been chastised for his extravagant lifestyle and is frequently accused of human rights violations.
In Eswatini, elections are conducted in such a way that no one seriously challenges the monarch's power.
The King appoints ministers and exercises authority over Parliament, the police, and the army. He appoints judges as well.
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