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Wednesday, 5 May 2010


A Swazi political activist who was arrested for wearing a PUDEMO T-shirt has been killed while in police custody.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned organization in Swaziland, reports that Sipho Jele was arrested on Workers’ Day (1 May 2010) for wearing the T-shirt in Manzini.

PUDEMO reports that police took him to his home in Ncabaneni looking for his PUDEMO membership card and returned with him to custody.

The next day (Tuesday) police told his grandmother that he has died by ‘committing suicide while in custody’.

PUDEMO said in a statement, ‘We know this is incorrect. A lot of people in Swaziland have died in the hands of the police and fictitious stories fabricated.’

The police ordered the grandmother to bury Jele’s body the same day, leading to suspicions that they did not want an expert to examine Jele’s body to discover his true cause of death.

PUDEMO says, ‘Next they will bribe the poor family to fabricate a story on Sipho’s death which shall be in favour of the regime and its killer security agents. If they fail, they shall threaten the old lady with a lot of fearful things including being evicted from her home area.

‘The Swaziland royal regime has always been giving the international community the wrong information that political dissenters are not imprisoned, harassed and killed. And that Swaziland is a peaceful country. But here is a political activist getting killed for attending Workers Day and wearing a PUDEMO T-shirt.’

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