Friday, February 12, 2010


A Swazi journalism student who carried a camera while taking part in a demonstration has been arrested by police, tortured, and charged with being a terrorist.

Sicelo Vilane was one of the students who were abducted by Swazi state police who broke up a demonstration by students planned on the streets of Manzini on Wednesday (10 February 2010).

He is due to appear in the Swaziland High Court.

Vilane says that he was carrying a camera to take pictures of the event to give to the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) reports that ‘is only crime was that he took pictures of police torturing and tormenting Pius Vilakati, UNISWA [University of Swaziland] [Students Representative Council] President, and while going back to take more pictures of other students one police officer followed him and grabbed him from behind and demanded that he delete the pictures.

‘He was taken to the police headquarters in Manzini where he was tortured while being asked why he was taking the pictures.’

Vilane was searched by police and found to be carrying a Swaziland Youth Congress [SWAYOCO] card bearing his name.

SSN reports, ‘he was then tortured viciously and then charged with contravening Section 19 (1) (b) of the [Suppression of] Terrorism Act.

‘Yesterday he spent the entire day at the police station and no efforts was made that he be taken to court even though according to law suspects must have appeared before a Magistrate by at least 48 hours of their arrest.’

SSN reports that even though Vilane had been ‘arrested and tortured viciously, police have not made efforts to contact his parents to inform them of his arrest’.

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