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Thursday, 29 July 2010

POLICE TORTURE IN SWAZI ‘BOMB’ CASE

Swazi police tortured two men accused of terrorist activities to get them to confess.


The Swaziland High Court was told that more than 12 police officers tied one of them to a bench, handcuffed him and then used a rubber tube, plastic bag and surgical gloves to suffocate him in an attack that lasted more than an hour.


Bhekumusa Dlamini, who is accused of involvement in a spate of petrol bottle attacks in Swaziland, said in a written statement to the court that he was arrested at his home and taken to KaPhunga Police Station where he was attacked by at least 12 police officers.


Bhekumusa Dlamini said, ‘I was insulted, called names, slapped on my face and all over my body by the whole contingent of officers therein.'


He went on, ‘At KaPhunga Police Station, I was severely tortured, tied onto a bench facing up, my chest tied around the bench, my legs as well and my arms were handcuffed at the back around the bench.


‘For over an hour or even more I would be suffocated by use of a rubber tube, plastic bag and surgical gloves. One officer carried a jar full of cold water that he would spill onto my face each time the suffocation tools were momentarily moved.


‘I was suffocated to the extent that I soiled myself and I was in no position to deny anything I was told to admit.’


In another separate incident, Zonke Dlamini, who is charged alongside Bhekumusa Dlamini, told the High Court in a statement that he was taken to KaPhunga Police Station and tortured in the same way as Bhekumusa Dlamini, but this time 18 police officers were involved.


In a statement to the court he said he almost lost consciousness several times. He says the torturing made him confess to involvement in terrorism.


Torture by police officers in Swaziland is common. On Monday this week (26 July 2010) I reported how at least 10 police officers were caught torturing a suspect at Mbabane police station.


On Tuesday I reported how a case had been filed in the Swaziland High Court against police in Manzini after a man accused of stealing a cellphone was suffocated after he had his hands cuffed and his feet tied.

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