Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Swazi police have admitted they didn’t have a search warrant when they invaded the home of democracy activist Mario Masuku.

In a novel interpretation of the law, a top policeman told Swaziland High Court police didn’t get a warrant ‘because it would have compromised the objective of his search’.

This means the police illegally searched the home of Masuku, president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), before arresting him. He has been in jail awaiting trial since the search in November 2008.

According to a report in the Times of Swaziland today (7 April 2009), Senior Superintendent Mike Zwane told the court that the police were looking for documents belonging to PUDEMO ‘which had been used or would be used to commit offences under the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA)’.

The High Court was hearing an application from Masuku to have his arrest set aside. He has been charged under the STA, but claims that the act was not in force at the time last September he is alleged to have made a speech supporting terrorism.

The Swazi Observer reports that Masuku’s lawyer Thulani Maseko made an application at the court for Masuku’s immediate release from jail on the grounds that the STA was ‘merely used as a tool to render ineffective the voices of the land’.

He said the STA must be struck down as a matter of urgency because it erodes the very essence of democracy founded on free expression and free speech.

Masuku has refused to be released on bail and he is presently in solitary confinement at the Matsapha Central Prison.

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