Swaziland opposition leader acquitted

Democracy activists in Swaziland celebrated on Tuesday after the leader of the country’s opposition was acquitted of terrorism charges and freed from prison after 340 days: here. See also here.

Global rights group Amnesty International has denounced the use of excessive force by Swaziland‘s correctional services officers against journalists and political activists after a demonstration at one of the main country’s prisons turned violent: here.

2 thoughts on “Swaziland opposition leader acquitted

  1. Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

    Swaziland: Organization Condemns Violence Against Journalists

    2 October 2009

    Mbabane — Amnesty International is appealing to the government of Swaziland to ensure that prison security officers suspected to have used excessive force against political activists and journalists are subjected to disciplinary and criminal investigations.

    In a press statement the organization urged the government to institute a judicially-led public inquiry into the violent attack on September 21 by Correctional Services security officers on journalists and political activists at Matsapha Central Correctional Institute.

    The attack by prison security officers occurred shortly after the court acquittal on terrorism charges of opposition leader Mario Masuku.

    Amnesty condemned use of excessive force against media workers and political activists by prison officials.

    “There should be no impunity for human rights violations. The government should ensure that the rights protected under regional and international human rights treaties to which Swaziland is party and under the Constitution should be respected, protected and fulfilled,” said the organization.

    The statement said that the government should affirm publicly the right of journalists to conduct their work without harassment, intimidation and violence adding that the actions were violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and information.

    “In several cases, the extent and targeted nature of the assaults constituted ill-treatment and violated the prohibition against torture,” the organization said.

    Eyewitnesses said the security officers reacted aggressively to the presence at the prison gate of some 50 noisy but peaceful, unarmed supporters awaiting Mario Masuku’s release from the prison.

    “Television and print-media journalists were standing near them. Without any official warning to disperse, security officers charged into the group at the gate. They severely assaulted a number of leading political activists and demanded that the journalists stop filming and photographing their actions,” Amnesty said.


  2. Pingback: Lack of human rights in Swaziland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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