22 January 2013

Swaziland: No Crime, but Pregnant Woman Jailed

A women who is seven months pregnant was jailed in Swaziland, even though there were no allegations of wrongdoing or pending convictions against her, after her mother told a magistrate her daughter needed correcting.

Vuyesihle Magagula, aged 21, was sent to the Mawelawela Correctional Facility before being released by a High Court judge.

The Swazi Observer reported today (22 January 2013) that her mother went to the magistrate's court and sought the order which confined her own daughter to prison.

Her father, Zephaniah Magagula went to the High Court to have her released. He told the court that on 21 December, 2012 he was informed by her boyfriend that his daughter had been taken to custody at the behest of her mother, the newspaper reported.

He stated that it was his belief that Vuyesihle had been unlawfully detained against her will. Magagula had met with the Deputy Commissioner of His Majesty Correctional Services who informed him that there was a lawful order sanctioning the detention of his daughter.

Magagula said that the Correctional Services refused him permission to see his daughter.

Justice Bheki Maphalala ordered that Vuyesihle be released.

This is not the first case in Swaziland where a person has been placed in custody although they had not committed a crime.

Last month (December 2012) it was revealed children in Swaziland were being locked up in juvenile detention, even though they had committed no crime and Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase, Swaziland's Correctional Services Commissioner, was encouraging parents to send their 'unruly children' to the facility if they thought they were badly behaved.

Ntshangase said the action assisted 'in the fight against crime by rooting out elements from a tender age'. He was reported saying the children 'will be locked up, rehabilitated and integrated back to society'.

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