Sunday, February 14, 2010


The Swazi state has dropped the charge of terrorism against the student journalist abducted by police.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) withdrew the charge at the Swaziland High Court.

The DPP refused to give reasons for the withdrawal, but the arrest and charge of Sicelo Vilane had provoked outrage both inside Swaziland and internationally.

Vilane had been seen with a camera at a student protest in Manzini. He was later found to have a membership card of the banned Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).

Reports said that Vilane had been tortured by police while in custody.

The DPP is keeping silent about its reasons for dropping the charge but it must have had in mind the abject humiliation that was heaped upon the Swazi state, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, last year (2009) when a charge of terrorism against Mario Masuku, the president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), collapsed within hours of its start. Masuku had been in jail on remand for 10 months awaiting trial.

At the time High Court Judge Mbutfo Mamba halted the trial of Masuku after being presented with ‘poor quality of evidence’ by the prosecution led by Swaziland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Mumcy Dlamini.

No comments: