Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Mario Masuku, the leader of the Swaziland political party arrested on a terrorism charge, has been charged with sedition.

Masuku, who is President of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), appeared in court on remand yesterday. After the hearing Masuku’s lawyer Thulani Maseko announced that the new charge had been laid against Masuku.

This is the third charge Masuku has faced since he was arrested the day after Swaziland’s illegally appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini declared PUDEMO (and three other political formations) to be a ‘terroristorganisation. This meant that any member or supporter of PUDEMO could be charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

When they first arrested him, police charged Masuku with possessing information about how to make explosives. When they found no evidence to support this, the police changed the charge to supporting terrorism by making a public statement at a funeral. Now, according to a report in the Times of Swaziland today (9 December 2008), the police are claiming that the remarks made by Masuku amount to sedition.

In a further development supporters of Masuku who wanted to petition the Swazi High Court yesterday to allow people to visit him in prison were thwarted because no judges were available to hear the case.

Masuku is due to appear in court again next Monday.

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