Members of Eswatini Parliament Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube have been arbitrarily detained since 25 July 2021 on trumped-up charges, including those under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. While in detention, they have been beaten and denied access to their lawyer and medical care. Their prosecution stems from the peaceful exercise of their right to free speech. Their trial concluded on 31 January with judgment reserved indefinitely. They face 10 years in prison should they be found guilty. The politically motivated charges against them must be dropped and they be immediately released.
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His Excellency Honourable Prime Minister
Cleopas Sipho Dlamini
P.O Box 395, Mbabane, Kingdom of Eswatini
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador H.E. Njabuliso Gwebu
Embassy of the Kingdom of Eswatini
1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: (202) 234-5002 I Fax: (202) 234 8254
Email: [email protected]
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
I am writing to bring to your attention the continued arbitrary detention of two Members of Parliament (MPs) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza
and Mthandeni Dube
The two MPs’ arrests came amid a wave of protests sparked in June 2021 calling for political reform following the mysterious death of 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye, who allegedly died at the hands of the police in early May 2021. Their arrest came shortly after they made speeches advocating for the election of the Prime Minister of Eswatini instead of one being appointed by the King. They advocated for the amendment of the constitution to provide to this election.
The two were arrested on the evening of 25 July 2021 and stand accused of contravening section 5(1) of the suppression of terrorism act of 2008, contravening section 4(b) of the sedition and subversive activities act of 1938, trumped up murder charges for the killing of Siphosethu Mntshali and Thando Shongwe on 29 June 2021, as well as contravening regulation 4 of the disaster management regulations under the disaster management act 01/2006. I understand that the two MPs were nowhere near the scene of the car accident that claimed the lives of Siphosethu Mntshali and Thando Shongwe on 29 June 2021.
The meeting in relation to the charge of contravening regulation 4 of the disaster management regulations, was not organised by Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, they were merely attendees. Their multiple bail application including an appeal to the Supreme court of Eswatini were unsuccessful. Their trial ended on 31 January and judgment was withheld indefinitely while they remain in custody.
In the early hours of 22 September 2022, the two MPs were brutally attacked in their prison cell by members of a tactical unit that was responsible for transporting them to and from court. They were kicked and beaten with batons and when the other inmates tried to help, they also received a beating. Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube’s lawyer was refused access to them, and the Department of Correctional services refused to take them to a private clinic for medical treatment for their injuries until their lawyers filed a successful urgent application to the court requesting that the MPs be taken to a private clinic for treatment.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release MP Bacede Mabuza and MP Mthandeni Dube and drop all charges against them as their prosecution stems from the exercise of their human rights. Pending their release, I urge you to order a prompt, impartial, independent, and effective investigation into the attack carried out against them and the other prisoners on 22 September 2022, ensuring those responsible are held to account.