4 January 2018

Swaziland: Jail Inmates 'Beaten Frequently'

A suspect told a magistrate in Swaziland that inmates at the Sidwashini correctional facility were 'frequently assaulted', a newspaper in the kingdom reported.

The Swazi Observer reported (28 December 2017) the suspect whom it only named as Masuku made a statement ahead of his trial. The newspaper reported, 'Court attendants listened in stunned silence as Masuku informed Senior Magistrate Nonhlanhla Dlamini, that he had been severely assaulted by warders at Sidwashini correctional facility.

'He said he suffered bruises on his body due to the heavy beating he was subjected to by the officers.

'"Your Worship I have been assaulted by warders at Sidvwashini and I kindly seek your intervention. Please assist me by asking them to take me to hospital. I also seek assistance in reporting the officers who abused me to either the police or the Human Rights Commission so that appropriate action can be taken against them," he said.'

The Observer said, 'He singled out one officer whom he said had made it clear that should he report the assault to the magistrate, he would deal with him when he returned to the facility after the court appearance.'

The newspaper said one of the warders when questioned, 'sarcastically told the magistrate that Masuku should behave himself if he wanted to be treated well at the facility'.

The magistrate told the warders to take Masuku to hospital. Magistrate Dlamini added, 'I am also ordering you to stop threatening him by telling him that you will sort him out if he informs the court that he has been beaten. That is wrong."

The case was adjourned to 5 January 2018.

Sidwashini was in the news in December 2017 when untrained correctional facility officer recruits were said to have been sent in to help quell a riot over lack of bread.

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