Monday, January 4, 2010


The Swaziland Attorney General has told one of the kingdom’s independent newspapers it must stop publishing articles from Mario Masuku, president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).

In a veiled threat Majahenkhaba Dlamini, the Attorney General, has told Innocent Maphalala, the editor of the Times Sunday, he will face jail time for supporting a terrorist if he doesn’t stop publishing the articles.

Even though Masuku was acquitted of a trumped up terrorism charge in September 2009, Dlamini says PUDEMO, the organisation he leads, is a terrorist entity.

In a letter to Maphalala the Attorney General says the Swazi Government cannot understand why the Times is supporting terrorism.

He writes, ‘This is the same PUDEMO which was declared a terrorist entity last year. The entity or anybody on its behalf has never denied or challenged the declaration.’

The Attorney General went on, ‘And there you are, giving all the publicity and support as if the entity or its members are legitimate persons. In any effort to deal with the entity or member of the entity, you and your newspaper cannot avoid being identified with the entity or its member (s).’

He said he had no doubt that the newspaper was fully aware that promoting or giving support to terrorists remained a crime in this country.

This is a reference to the Suppression of Terrorism Act which makes it illegal for anyone to offer any kind of support to terrorist organisations. If charged and found guilty of such an offence the editor could face up to 25 years in jail.

Maphalala said he would stop publishing Masuku’s articles for now pending consultation on the matter.

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