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Monday, 14 June 2010

RAID ON SWAZI DEMOCRACY LEADER

Mario Masuku, President of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), had his Swaziland home raided by armed police this morning (14 June 2010).

The raid is the latest in a series of harassments by Swazi police against pro-democracy activists. Yesterday, Zonke Thokozani Tradewell Dlamini, of the PUDEMO youth league SWAYOCO appeared in the Swazi High Court on charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. He is alleged to have been involved in throwing bottles of petrol at government structures..

There have also been reports of frequent detentions and low level harassment on the part of the police.

PUDEMO reports that Masuku was today woken up by ‘armed to the teeth police officers who turned everything up and down at his homestead in Mbabane. He was subjected to the most harrowing experience of his life; intimidation, harassment and being ridiculed in front of his family.’

Masuku is no stranger to harassment by the state. In September 2009, he was acquitted after he was held in prison on remand for 10 months after he was arrested under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. He was immediately acquitted when his case came to court.

PUDEMO said in a statement, ‘Our President is a known enemy of the state having been arrested and charged with everything from high treason to sedition and now terrorism.’

In all these cases Masuku was acquitted.

PUDEMO said, ‘We are unequivocal in condemning violence and have openly challenged the regime to the round table for negotiations. For this we have been labelled terrorists, beaten, maimed, dehumanised, forced into exile and sanctioned economically in our own country.

‘Our genuine commitment to peaceful struggle and nonviolence has been met by brutal force and harassment.’

The latest move comes just as Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, has called for the law to be changed to deny bail to people accused of crime.

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