If you don’t believe the Swazi police are a law unto themselves, here’s the story of Goodwill Sibiya.
Goodwill was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during the Global Week of Action for democracy in Swaziland last month (September 2010).
He was kept in a cell overnight and next day he was taken to court where he was acquitted. That means he did nothing wrong and was free to go home.
But the police had other ideas.
Instead of releasing Goodwill, the police put him back in the cells.
Goodwill told the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in Swaziland, he was the first suspect to be brought up for trial and was released as early as 10am but had to wait for the other suspects so that they could go fetch their things from the police station.
‘However, at the police station, and to his surprise, police officers refused to release him arguing that there was no instrument they could use to release him from their custody,’ the Times reported.
Goodwill said that despite protesting that he had been released by the court the police refused to allow him to his freedom.
‘I asked to call my lawyer and they refused and had to spend the entire day in custody wrongly,’ he said.
‘I think they did this because I won a case against the police.’
A Swazi police spokesperson said they had no record of the illegal detention and if Goodwill has a problem with that he should take them to court.