Churches in Swaziland want an independent inquiry into the police killing of the alleged rapist Bhekinkhosi ‘Scarface’ Masina.
They also want the deaths of two other people, possibly at the hands of the police, to be investigated.
The Council of Swaziland Churches wants the independent inquiry to be wide ranging and involve police, politicians, the church and civil society.
The call was sparked by the police killing of Masina while he was allegedly resisting arrest. Police say they shot him in the thigh and Masina died of his injuries. Later a Swazi newspaper said its reporter had seen Masina’s body and it had a bullet wound to the head.
The other two cases the Swaziland Churches wants investigated involve Sihle Bhembe and Vamile Gumbi. Bhembe died in a police station cell after police say he repeatedly hit his own head against a wall. Gumbi died after being interrogated at a police station. All deaths occurred over a space of three weeks.
In a statement, the council said it was concerned that the three deaths happened in the custody of the police, or just after they had been taken in for questioning, over the course of three subsequent weeks and it is imperative to ascertain the circumstances leading to the deaths.
The council also called upon churches to resolutely defend the rights of defenceless and marginalised people in Swaziland.
It also wants the Swazi Government to introduce police training so officers can conduct their duties to international standards and with regard to the human rights of Swazi people.
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