Swazi democrat Mario Masuku is ‘rotting away’ in jail simply ‘for the pleasure of the ruling elite’ after being imprisoned on a sedition charge last November.
Masuku, the president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who is awaiting trial, has been visited by Musa Hlophe, coordinator of the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) and by other Swaziland progressives.
Hlophe described how Masuku was caged to keep him separate from his visitors.
‘We were able to push our fingers to touch him and stretched our hands to demonstrate our hugs of him! By this time we were fighting away our tears. It was so wonderful yet so painful,’ Hlophe wrote in the Times Sunday yesterday (16 August 2009).
‘I saw in Mario, the extent of the cruelty of Swaziland’s evil political system of Tinkhundla; a decent and innocent individual like Mario Masuku rotting away there, simply for the pleasure of the ruling elite. It is totally unforgivable; I do not care what others may think of this. It is evil by men on men.’
Masuku has been remanded in jail since November 2008 after he was arrested for allegedly making public statements in support of terrorism. Masuku was offered bail but refused.
In his article, which has been placed on the Free Mario Masuku blog, Hlophe wrote that Masuku said he didn’t apply for bail because if he did ‘he would get it, and then never to be brought on trial, but being asked to report to the police station for the rest of his life, without being afforded an opportunity to defend himself or getting convicted’.
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