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MBABANE – Seventeen accused persons, who were arrested for having allegedly committed terrorist acts, claim they are being subjected to callous treatment in prison.

They claim that at the Correctional Services, facilities, they were subjected to torture and to other inhumane and mortifying treatment for no apparent reason. Some are complaining about the rationing of the food they get on a daily basis, the daily menu and the quality of the food. The accused persons further claimed that they were being refused medical attention after being purportedly assaulted by warders. Another allegation is that those who were on special diets sometimes slept on empty stomachs. This has resulted in their Attorney, Professor Dlamini, writing to the commissioner general of His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS), where he made a litany of allegations.


All the complaints are from those who are facing charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2018, and they include among others, self-confessed commander of the Solidarity Forces, Thabo Kunene, Musa Kunene, the man who was reportedly responsible for recruiting people to be trained in South Africa to overthrow the government and Ncamiso Mabuyakhulu, who is a member of the proscribed Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO). In a three – page letter, the lawyer said his clients informed him that, they were allegedly subjected to all sorts of inhumane and degrading treatment at the Correctional Services facilities. Dlamini brought it to the attention of the commissioner general that, when some of the accused persons were brought to prison, they were told to provide a list of 20 relatives who would visit them four times a month.   

It is alleged that per week, only four visitors were allowed. According to Dlamini, due to the fact that the list was compiled in haste, his client gave the prison authorities names of people, who eventually did not come to check on them in prison. He alleged that his clients had made numerous requests to the social welfare officers, to have their list of visitors reviewed and/or changed but that proved an impossible mission, as same was refused. These are allegations whose veracity is still to be tested. “Some of the suspects are from time-to-time subjected to torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment for no apparent reason. This has resulted in some of the suspects approaching the courts to expose the unjust treatment they suffered at the hands of your subordinates and for the protection of their rights, especially their right to medical attention after having been assaulted,” reads part of the correspondence directed to the HMCS commissioner general.


He also alleged that some of his clients informed him that, even though they were on medication, which they were required to take in the evening, they were unable to do so. Dlamini mentioned that some of the accused persons were on special diets due to different ailments they development while in prison and they requested prison medical staff to allow them to have food in the evening, but such request was allegedly turned down. It is alleged that as a result, the affected accused persons ended up not taking their medication in the evening. “All the suspects sleep on small mats or tattered blankets and as winter approaches, they will be exposed to cold and that will compromise their state of health,” alleged the attorney. Dlamini further claimed that his clients further brought it to his attention that they allegedly did not get the necessary medication they required for their ailments.  


The attorney asserted that his clients informed him that, instead of being provided with the medication, they were prescribed medications they would have to buy on their own.  He pointed out that his clients could not afford to buy the medication prescribed by the doctors in prison and could not supplement their food rations. It was their lawyer’s contention that even if his clients were taken to the public hospitals, like all members of the public, they would more often than not, be given prescriptions to secure medications from private pharmacies, yet they did not have money. He highlighted that it was common knowledge that government allegedly did not have enough medication in all public health centres in the country.  

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