A breastfeeding mother was kept in a Swaziland (eSwatini) police cell with her baby after she was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis.
Celiwe Maduna was driving her car alongside her three children when police stopped it. They smelt dagga (as the drug is known locally) and found 40kg of it on the back seat. Later they found more in the car’s trunk.
The Times of eSwatini reported on Monday (20 July 2020) Maduna was taken to Mbabane police station where her husband was called to take the children. It added, ‘Upon her apprehension as a mother still breastfeeding her baby, Maduna was detained in the police holding cells for two nights along with the baby.’
She was later sentenced to six years in prison with the option to pay a fine of E6,000 (US$360). Of this, two years and E2,000 were suspended.
The case is not unusual in Swaziland where police are often criticised for the way they deal with mothers with babies.
In February 2018 a woman and her baby were held in a Mbabane police cell overnight along with at least 10 other students after a protest about unpaid allowances.
In 2003 Swaziland made global news after five babies aged under 12 months were kept in the Mbabane police station cells after their mothers were remanded in custody accused of possessing illegal drugs.