Monday, March 11, 2019

Death penalty available in Swaziland, but no plans to use it, Justice Minister says

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Swaziland / eSwatini Pholile Shakantu said the kingdom was not ready to use the death penalty, even though it remained lawful to do so.

Shakantu was speaking at a portfolio committee at the Swaziland Senate. 

There has been confusion over the use of the death penalty for many year. Section 15 of the Swaziland Constitution that came into effect in 2006 allows for the death penalty but states it is not be mandatory. The last execution in Swaziland was in 1983.

In 2016 Swaziland voted at the United Nations on a global suspension of executions but made no attempt back home to ban the death penalty.

The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (11 March 2019) that Shakantu, speaking at the Swazi Senate, said the kingdom did not embrace the death penalty in practice.

Shakantu said the kingdom had not made any move towards abolition as it was up to Parliament to amend laws that included the death penalty. 

As recently as 2012 an advert was placed in local media seeking a hangman. No suitable applications were received, the then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze told parliament.

There are believed to be at least three people on ‘death row’ in jail awaiting execution, including David Simelane who was convicted in 2011 of killing 28 women.

See also

Swazi killer sentenced to hang

Swaziland wants to appoint hangman

Death penalty test for human rights

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