Sipho Jele, who died in state custody, levitated to the ceiling unaided, tied an old piece of blanket around a beam and then around his own neck and then allowed himself to fall to the ground, thereby killing himself by hanging.
That was the verdict at the inquest into his death delivered yesterday (4 March 2011).
All right, the Swazi coroner didn’t say it quite that way, but that’s what Nondumiso Simelane expects us to believe.
‘Further, although there was nothing found at the scene which the deceased could have used as a platform on which to stand to commit the suicide; upon closer examination of the scene and the photos of the deceased captured at the scene, and the pathologists concluding that “it is possible for the deceased to have mounted himself upwards from the floor and then suspended himself without the use of a platform,” and that “after the ligature was applied to the beam and neck he could have lowered himself and the feet would still be above the floor.”
Simelane says it was her considered opinion that Jele’s death was due to suicide.
Jele was arrested on 1 May 2010 for wearing a T-shirt supporting the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), an organisation banned in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
He died later at the Sidwashini Remand Correctional Institution. He was found hanging from a beam in a shower block.
Who does he think he’s kidding?
SWAZI ACTIVIST’S DEATH ‘NOT SUICIDE’