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Lesotho leader’s wife murder trial to start next month: court

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Maesaiah Thabane, wife of Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, appears in court charged with murdering his previous wife two days before he took office in 2017, in Maseru, Lesotho, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/STRINGER

The murder trial of the wife of Lesotho’s prime minister, accused of murdering his previous wife, is set to start next month, a court official said on Tuesday.

Maesaiah Thabane was detained and charged earlier this month for the murder of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife Lipolelo, who was shot dead near her home in Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, on June 14, 2017.

Maesaiah Thabane, who denies the charges and is on bail, appeared in court briefly on Tuesday.

The magistrate court set March 17 as the date for the start of the trial, a spokeswoman for the court Mampota Phakoe said.

Lesotho police allege Maesaiah Thabane hired eight assassins to kill Lipolelo and was not actually present at the shooting herself.

Thomas Thabane took office two days after the killing, then married Maesaiah two months later.

The case has stunned citizens of Lesotho, an independent kingdom lying in the middle of a South African mountain range.


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