Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PUDEMO STATEMENT The Silence Brutality in Southern Africa- Sedition Trialists Update

The Silence Brutality in Southern Africa- Sedition Trialists Update

To all friends and comrades

As today is a public holiday in Swaziland the latest sedition 6 news might take a while to get out

Yesterday at Siteki magistrate court the state withdrew sedition charges against 5 of the trialists. These 5 were simply re-charged with violation of simple traffic laws (jaywalking) after spending 2 weeks in jail. This is acute abuse of state power

For convenience and to get out of jail the Comrades decided to plead guilty to these traffic charges (even though when they were arrested they were nowhere near a major road). They were duly sentenced to R 200 fines each or 3 months in prison all wholly suspended for 2 years. They were therefore released and spent the night at their homes. The suspended sentences are strategic for the state because it means the comrades are not likely to want to participate in our peaceful rallies/protests for the next 2 years as they could be charged with traffic offences again and get into complications

Only Comrade Sicelo Vilane remains charged with sedition and after 2 weeks his bail application has still not been heard by the courts. This is another example of state brutalization of political prisoners in Swaziland

You will remember that Comrade Sicelo is the one who was severely tortured by the state during the last treason arrests in 2005/6. They tried to make him a state witness but failed. We eventually applied in the high court and got a restraining order against the police and DPP and only then was he left alone after about 5 periods of extended torture. As a result of the torture he suffered extensive damage to his ears and we had booked him for an operation at Good Shepered Hospital at Siteki on the 18th April 2007. Of coarse he was arrested on the 12th April so this operation had to be cancelled. We believe that the state is still victimizing him because of his refusal to testify for it hence the reluctance to release him with everyone else

For more information contact
Sphasha Dlamini- PUDEMO General Secretary
+268 608 9783

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