27 November 2012

Swaziland: Man Found Dead in Police Cell

A man has been found dead in a Swaziland police cell.

Sikhumbuzo Tfwala, aged 28, was reportedly naked and had used his jeans and a sweater to hang himself inside the toilet of the cell at Sigodvweni.

The Times of Swaziland newspaper reported a source saying, 'I heard that the deceased suspect climbed the toilet window bars in order to reach the rafters and hanged himself.'

Tfwala had been accused of housebreaking.

This is not the first death in custody at a Swazi police station. In June 2012 Sihle Bhembe, aged 26, died after allegedly repeatedly banging his head against a wall at the old Mbabane Police Station. He had a history of emotional problems and had been in a cell for three days.

His family reportedly said at the time they suspect police involvement in the death.

Swazi police have also been accused of having a shoot-to-kill policy when dealing with suspects.

In June 2012, the Council of Swaziland Churches demanded an independent inquiry into the police killing of the alleged rapist Bhekinkhosi 'Scarface' Masina.

Masina was reportedly shot while while resisting arrest. Police say they shot him in the thigh and he died of his injuries. Later a Swazi newspaper said its reporter had seen Masina's body and it had a bullet wound to the head.

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