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MBABANE – The bail application of the seven members of PUDEMO who were arrested for being found in possession of the banned entity’s t-shirts will be heard today.

The Crown is opposing their bail application on the basis that they are a flight risk.
The State also argued that it would not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail as their release may endanger the safety of the public.

The bail application will be heard at the High Court at 1pm by Judge Mumcy Dlamini.
PUDEMO is the People’s United Democratic Movement which was proscribed by government and branded a ‘specified entity’, along with other groups such as Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) and Umbane.

The seven members were arrested on Wednesday near the High Court where the trial of The Nation Magazine Editor Bheki Makhubu and Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko was on-going.

The seven members of the banned entity are facing four counts which include contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act No.3 of 2008 and Sedition and Subversive Activities Act No.3 of 2008.

The arrested members are   Bongani Gama, Mlungisi Makhanya (Secretary General), Brian Ntshangase (PRO), Mangaliso Khumalo,  Bafana Magongo, Ntobeko Maseko and Siza Tsabedze.
They were held after being found in possession of an undisclosed number of brand new PUDEMO t- shirts which were distributed among other members.

Since the beginning of the case, PUDEMO members and other political activists have been gathering at the High Court, singing and chanting political slogans in support of Makhubu and Maseko.
The police have been refusing them entry into the High Court premises and an application by the Law Society of Swaziland to allow members of the public unhindered access to court to follow the case was dismissed.

In the first count they are alleged to have on or about April 22 and 23 at or near Mbabane (High Court main gate and Mbabane Bus Rank along Mahlokohla Street), each or all of them acting individually and/or in furtherance of a common purpose did unlawfully solicit support to a terrorist entity (PUDEMO)  to the commimission of terrorist acts by the proscribed entity, by chanting terrorists slogans, wearing white T-shirts written PUDEMO and reflecting terrorist demands at the back, and also wearing red and black PUDEMO berets.

On the same dates the accused are further alleged to have again contravened the same Act in that they conspired with other people to do an act with seditious intention. It is alleged that their intention was to bring hatred or contempt and/or to excite disaffection against the Administration of Justice in Swaziland or promote feeling of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population in Swaziland 

In the third count they are alleged to have supported, propagated or advocated an act of thing prejudicial to public order, the security of Swaziland or Administration of Justice, inciting to violence or other disorder or crime. A pretrial conference for the seven arrested members of PUDEMO will be held on Wednesday and they indicated that they would be pleading not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

The Crown is represented by Senior Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo from the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutor while appearing for the accused is Human Rights Lawyer Sipho Gumedze.

Comments (1 posted):

Thandukwazi Dludlu on 05/05/2016 20:08:11
Enough is enough, even the professional apologists of the Tinkhundla system of governance already have run out of apologetic reasons of defending this oppressive system. When the 1973 decree was made the whole Swazi nation went into a political slumber until Pudemo was formed in 1983 since that historic day we are witnessing people waking up from the political sleep, it's about time the system is flushed down in the dust bin of history.

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