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UA 468/90 - Swaziland: legal concern: Sabelo Dlamini, Boy Magagulu, Dominic Mngomezulu, Ray Russon, Mphandlane Shongwe

, Index number: AFR 55/005/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 55/05/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 468/90 Legal Concern 16 November 1990
Mphandlane SHONGWE
Three of the five people named above have been arrested and placed in administrative
detention, apparently on account of their non-violent political activities. Dominic
Mngomezulu, Boy Magagulu and Mphandlane Shongwe were reportedly taken into police
custody on 14 or 15 November 1990, and the police have apparently confirmed that
they have been detained under the terms of the King's Decree No. 1 (1978) which
authorizes the Prime Minister to order a person to be detained for 60 days, subject
to whatever conditions he imposes. The period of detention can be renewed repeatedly
at the Prime Minister's discretion.
Amnesty International has been able to confirm reports that Ray Russon and
Sabelo Dlamini, fearing arrest, have requested "temporary sanctuary" at the embassy
of the United States of America in Swaziland. They are currently at the embassy,
which has requested the men to leave voluntarily. Amnesty International has been
able to confirm that the authorities have ordered the detention of Ray Russon, and
is concerned that a similar order might be issued for Sabelo Dlamini.
On 25 October 1990 four of the five, together with two other people, were
convicted of contravening the King's Decree No. 12 (1973), which prohibits people
from organizing or attending any meetings of a political nature. The convictions
came at the conclusion of a major trial involving 10 people charged with treason
and other offences: they were accused of forming a political party, the People's
United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), with the purpose of overthrowing the government
(see UA 308/90, AFR 55/01/90, 24 July, and follow-ups AFR 55/03/90, 31 October and
AFR 55/04/90, 6 November). Four of the accused were acquitted on all counts. Sabelo
Dlamini, Mphandlane Shongwe, Kuseni Dlamini and Mario Masuku were sentenced to six
months' imprisonment but were released immediately as they had already spent four
months in prison and the court granted them one-third remission on their sentence
for good conduct. Dominic Mngomezulu and Ray Russon were sentenced to 12 months'
imprisonment and on 2 November 1990 were granted bail and released from custody pending
a hearing on their appeal against conviction and sentence. As a result of their
convictions in this trial, Mario Masuku was dismissed from his job at Barclays Bank,
Mphandlane Shongwe was expelled from William Pitcher College, and Sabelo Dlamini
was expelled from the university after disciplinary proceedings by the university
Boy Magagulu was previously detained and later charged with the other 10 accused
in the PUDEMO trial (see UA 308/90, AFR 55/01/90, 24 July 1990). On 5 September
1990 Boy Magagulu was taken to court where charges against him were withdrawn. He
was then taken under police custody to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
(DPP) and interrogated by the prosecution legal team and pressured to become a
prosecution witness in the PUDEMO trial. He refused to co-operate with them. He
was subject to further harassment during the following week and on 13 September 1990
he was rearrested and served with a new indictment on the following day. On 24
September 1990 the High Court refused a prosecution request to bring Boy Magagulu
and one other person to trial with the other 10. Boy Magagulu was released on bail
and is still awaiting the decision of the prosecution regarding their intention to
bring him to trial.
The arrests this week have occurred in the wake of the PUDEMO trial and protests
at the University of Swaziland campus over the expulsion of Sabelo Dlamini from the
university for his involvement in the trial. According to press reports, on 14
November 1990 the police and paramilitary troops ordered a crowd of students, who
had occupied a university building, to disperse within 30 minutes. Apparently a
large number of students did leave. The security forces then forcibly removed the
remaining students and a number of them were injured. There are unconfirmed reports
that at least one student may have died as a result of the severe beatings by the
security forces. Sabelo Dlamini was reportedly injured in this confrontation.
Amnesty International is concerned that Dominic Mngomezulu, Boy Magagulu and
Mphandlane Shongwe are detained incommunicado under 60-day administrative detention
orders and that they are at risk of ill-treatment and torture. Amnesty International
regards them as prisoners of conscience and is calling on the authorities to release
them immediately and unconditionally. Amnesty International believes that, if they
are arrested, Ray Russon and Sabelo Dlamini will also be prisoners of conscience
imprisoned solely for the non-violent expression of their political views.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at reports that Dominic Mngomezulu, Boy Magagulu and Mphandlana
Shongwe have been detained incommunicado under renewable 60-day administrative
detention orders;
- seeking assurances that they are not being subjected to torture, ill-treatment
or other forms of duress;
- urging that they be granted immediate access to their lawyers, relatives, and
independent medical advice;
- expressing concern that they are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned on account
of their political activities without using or advocating violence, and calling for
their immediate and unconditional release;
- expressing concern also that Ray Russon and Sabelo Dlamini have been forced to
seek refuge in the embassy of the United States of America, and urging the authorities
to state publicly that they may leave the embassy safely, without fear of rearrest
and incommunicado detention.
His Majesty King Mswati III The Right Hon. Obed Dlamini
PO Box 1 Acting Prime Minister
Lobamba Office of the Prime Minister
Swaziland PO Box 395
Mbabane, Swaziland
Telegrams: HM King Mswati, Swaziland
Telegrams: Prime Minister,
Mbabane, Swaziland
Mr R Dhladhla Mr Sandile Mdziniso
Minister of Justice Commissioner of Police
PO Box 924 c/o Office of the Prime Minister
Mbabane, Swaziland PO Box 395
Mbabane, Swaziland
Telegrams: Justice Minister,
Mbabane, Swaziland Telegrams: Police Commissioner,
Telexes: 2017 COMPOL WD Mbabane, Swaziland
- Attorney General, Attorney General's Chambers, PO Box 578, Mbabane, Swaziland
- The President, The Swaziland Law Society, Box No. 24, Mbabane, Swaziland
- The Times of Swaziland, PO Box 156, Lansdown House, Post Street, Mbabane,
and to diplomatic representatives of Swaziland in your country.
Please organize some appeals from lawyers, academics or students.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 28 December 1990.

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