Two men Maswazi Simelane and Fani Simelane accused police in Swaziland of beating them up badly in the cells.
Fani Simelane told the Mbabane Magistrate he was heavily assaulted all over his body so badly that the police postponed his court appearance due to his serious injuries, the Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (7 November 2017).
‘I was taken to hospital by the police; they must explain why I was admitted in hospital if they are denying that they assaulted me. They further did not take me to court as they were scared the court would notice my injuries,’ the newspaper reported Simelane saying.
Maswazi Simelane told the court he was assaulted in one of the rooms at the Mbabane Police Station. ‘I was handcuffed during the assault and the handcuffs injured me badly.
‘They took pictures of me whilst I was being assaulted. I did not go to court for a week due to the injuries,’ he said.
The two faced charges of theft of car tyres.
Police denied the alleged assaults. The case continues.
This is only one of a number of reports of police brutality in Swaziland which is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
In August 2017, a security guard told Mbabane court a female police officer sat on his face and other officers assaulted him after they accused him of stealing motor parts.
In March 2017, A man accused of multiple murders told a court he was tortured by police for 11 days to force him to confess. He said he was suffocated with a tube and assaulted all over his body, resulting in many serious injuries. The alleged attack was said to have taken place at Lobamba Police Station, the Manzini Magistrates’ Court was told.
In January 2017, local media reported police forced a 13-year-old boy to remove his trousers and flogged him with a sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a mobile phone.
In September 2016, women were reportedly ambushed by armed police and ‘brutally attacked’ by police during a strike at the Plantation Forest Company, near Pigg’s Peak.
In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was told in a joint report by four organisations, ‘In Mbabane [the Swazi capital], police tortured a 15-year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting grass) and knobkerrie (club) for five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was made to count the strokes aloud for the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was physically assaulted and made to sit in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.’
The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community Network, Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations and Constituent Assembly – Swaziland.
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