Thuli Rudd

A Swazi lesbian activist accused of murdering her partner has languished in jail for more than six months and is apparently without legal representation.

Behind the Mask reported that it remains unclear when the trial against Thuli Rudd, also known as Thulani, will restart. She has been refused bail by the courts.

Rudd was arrested in December 2009 and charged with the murder of her partner, Pitseng Vilakati. It is believed that Vilakati, whose body was found at the Ngwane Park cemetery, was stabbed to death.

The website added that Rudd is apparently pregnant and there are fears about her health in prison.

Rudd, who was the head of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Swaziland, has denied killing her girlfriend.

“It is my contention that while I may have had a fight with Vilakati, I did not cause her death,” Rudd said in court papers earlier this year, adding that the two planned to marry.

Rudd and Vilakati caused a media storm in Swaziland in August 2009 when they went public with their relationship and faced a largely hostile public reaction.

Local and international LGBT groups have expressed their concern that Rudd will not be able to receive a fair trial.

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