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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

COPS FREE SWAZI YOUTH PROTESTORS

The four members of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) arrested on Saturday when police brutally smashed up their protest rally have been released without charge.


This is even though they were made to attend magistrates’ court.


It seems police realised they had no evidence against the four and one police officer at the centre of the charges was unable to identify the four as culprits.


According to a report in the Swazi Observer today (4 March 2009), an identification parade was held at the Sidwashini prison where the police officer was instructed to identify the suspects.


‘As with other identification parades, the SWAYOCO suspects were ordered to stand in one row with convicted inmates. But the police officer failed to identify them, instead he pointed to a convicted inmate as being the one who was present at the rally,’ a source close to the matter told the Observer.


SWAYOCO President Wandile Dludlu, who was arrested on terrorism charges the day before the rally to protest about the jailing of Mario Masuku, President of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), has also been released from police custody.


Dludlu told the Observer that he was given no reason for his release, but he has been told to report back to the Mbabane police station next Monday.


Meanwhile, prison authorities have not reacted favourably to a Swaziland High Court ruling last week that Masuku should be allowed more visitors as he waits in jail pending his trial under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.


The Times of Swaziland reported that Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions chief Jan Sithole and his counterpart from the Swaziland United Democratic Front, Barnes Dlamini were barred from visiting Masuku last Friday.


Sithole told the newspaper that he was told by prison officers that they had instructions from their superiors to ignore the court ruling.


He also said Masuku was being kept in solitary confinement.

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