A man is reportedly fighting for life in hospital after being allegedly assaulted by two officers at a police station in Swaziland/ Eswatini.
He is suffering from severe internal bleeding, heart seizures, the swelling of his kidneys and nerve damage on both his arms and legs.
The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday (29 November 2018) that the man whom it did not name was from Mangwaneni. It said police accused him of having stolen items from a house, which he denied.
It reported him saying, ‘[Police] assaulted me by first tying a piece of cloth around my mouth so that I cannot scream. They then hit me multiple times with fists and kicks in the stomach. I fell to the floor and the police stood on my stomach while laughing. They then put a plastic bag over may face and thereafter sank my head into water until I passed out.’
It reportedly happened on Saturday. Since then the alleged victim has been in hospital.
The Observer reported, ‘Currently, the assault victim is still in critical condition with medical practitioners saying he might lose his life due to the multiple internal injuries he allegedly suffered during the assault.’
Police said they were investigating the alleged incident.
There are numerous reports in Swaziland of assault and brutality at police stations. In September 2018, four women were reportedly beaten with sjamboks [whips] and pipes and scalded with boiling water at Siteki police station. Two of them needed hospital treatment for burns and blisters. They were accused of stealing from shops.
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 at Ngwenya police station with a sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a mobile phone.
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.
Police must not beat suspects: Court