There have been ‘occasional reports’ in Swaziland (eSwatini) that police have inflicted ‘torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment’, according to a report from the United States Government on human rights in the kingdom.
In its annual report covering the year 2020, the US State Department said the constitution and law prohibited torture and other cruel treatments but there were ‘occasional reports that government officials employed them’.
The report stated, ‘In February, Bongani Kunene of Moyeni alleged that during an interrogation police beat him and placed a plastic bag over his head.
‘During the year there were scattered reports of police brutality towards those alleged to have violated COVID lockdowns. In one pending case, a police officer was arrested and charged with attempted murder for shooting a teenager in the arm after having fired his weapon to disperse a group of teens who were contravening COVID [coronavirus] regulations by playing soccer during the partial lockdown.
‘There were isolated reports throughout the country of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by “community police”– untrained, volunteer security personnel who exist outside the country’s formal legal structures and are empowered by rural communities to act as vigilantes, patrolling against rural crimes such as cattle rustling.
‘In November 2019 a group of community police severely beat five suspected thieves on their buttocks and paraded them naked through the street as punishment.’
Swaziland still ‘not free,’ human rights group Freedom House reports
Swaziland gripped by human rights abuses, annual report states