Friday, May 7, 2010


This is how the Independent group of newspapers in South Africa reported on the death in a Swazi jail of Swaziland democracy activist Sipho Jele.


6 May 2010

Man allegedly killed in Swazi jail

A Swaziland political party leader on Thursday accused police of killing one of its members while in custody after being arrested for wearing a party T-shirt.

Sipho Jele, a timber industry worker, died in prison in the Swazi capital Mbabane this week after being arrested for wearing a T-shirt of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) at a May Day rally at the weekend said Mario Masuku, the party's president.

Police said Jele had hanged himself, an explanation Masuku rejected as "absolute nonsense".

"He was brought to the high court Monday, but on Tuesday morning we learnt that he hanged himself. We do not believe that," Masuku told reporters.

Swaziland's commissioner of correctional services was not available for comment.

Political organisations have been banned by law in the small southern African kingdom since 1973.

The government of King Mswati III is known for cracking down on political activists and pro-democracy campaigners.

National police spokesman superintendent Vusi Masuku said Jele was arrested under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, a law that Amnesty International has condemned as violating Swazis' freedom of expression, association and assembly.

"If a person is seen wearing something or being a member of that particular terrorist group which was banned by the laws of the country, he should be arrested," Masuku said.

PUDEMO's president denied his party is a terrorist organisation, saying: "This is merely a way of suppressing diverging voices." - Sapa-AFP

Published on the Web by IOL on 2010-05-06 16:59:40

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