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US report on human rights links eSwatini police to unlawful killings of citizens

Thursday, 9th April, 2020

MBABANE:Eswatini police and or the government has been accused of unlawful killings of citizens in a United States report on human rights.

The Swazi Media Commentary that focus on human rights issues in eSwatini reported on Thursday that the recently released annual report covers the year 2019 and it alleged that in early June, police shot and killed a man suspected for harboring prison escapees and drug dealing. 

  There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.In June police shot and killed a man suspected for harboring prison escapees and drug dealing. There were no reports that the suspect attacked or otherwise threatened police.In early June a man was found severely injured after being questioned by police. The man’s cousin alleged that the man was beaten by police, and then left to die in a secluded area some 18 miles away. Police stated that they had questioned the person, decided not to charge him, and then gave him a ride to a nearby town. The man died in the hospital almost two months later. REPS [Royal eSwatini Police Service] promised to investigate, but there were no further reports concerning any investigation or disciplinary action by year’s end” read the report published by the United States State Department.

The report further highlighted cases of torture by police. 

 During the year two officers were charged with homicide in relation to their alleged roles in the 2015 death of a detainee during an interrogation. Three additional officers were investigated for torture in response to a referral from the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration Integrity.In February the High Court awarded 70,000 emalangeni (US$4,870) damages for pain and suffering to a man who was assaulted by members of the UEDF [the Army] in 2003. There also were scattered reports throughout the country of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by “community police”–untrained, volunteer security personnel who exist outside the country’s formal legal structures and are empowered by rural communities to act as vigilantes, patrolling against rural crimes such as cattle rustling” the report states 

The US report on human rights further highlighted a case of five community police members in Sihhohweni who allegedly punched, kicked and beat a man with a broomstick.

In August five community police members in Sihhohweni punched, kicked, and beat a man with a broomstick so severely that he needed to be hospitalized. The abuse was reported to the REPS, and the community police members were arrested for assault. The magistrate found them guilty and sentenced each to 10 months’ imprisonment with an option of a 2,000 emalangeni (US$140) fine. In October a UEDF member was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with an option of a 14,000 emalangeni (US$975) fine for an off-duty xenophobic assault on a Mozambican national” the report states

Eswatini, a country situated in the Southern parts of Africa is rule by King Mswati, an absolute Monarch. 

 

US report on human rights links eSwatini police to unlawful killings of citizens
National Commissioner of Police William Dlaminil