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Further information on UA 468/90 - (AFR 55/05/90, 16 November) - Swaziland: Legal Concern: Sabelo Dlamini, Boy Magagulu, Dominic Mngomezulu, Ray Russon, Mphandlane Shongwe

, Index number: AFR 55/006/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 55/06/90
Distr: UA/SC
23 November 1990
Further information on UA 468/90 (AFR 55/05/90, 16 November) - Legal concern
Mphandlane SHONGWE
Ray Russon and Sabelo Dlamini, who on 14 November had sought refuge in the embassy
of the United States of America in Swaziland, are in the custody of the Swaziland
police. At 5.45 am on 17 November 1990 the two men are reported to have been escorted
out of the embassy. They had been placed under pressure to leave the embassy despite
the fact that, by the time they left, the Prime Minister had confirmed publicly that
he had authorized Ray Russon and Sabelo Dlamini to be arrested under 60-day detention
orders. After leaving the embassy they went into hiding and apparently fled the country
to neighbouring South Africa.
At 5.05 pm on 22 November 1990, armed officials of the South African Police
at Oshoek border post between South Africa and Swaziland handed the two men over to
four members of the Swaziland police, at least one of whom was armed, who were waiting
on the other side of the border. They were put into a police van and driven off to
Mbabane, and are reported to be in detention.
Amnesty International believes that, like Dominic Mngomezulu, Boy Magagulu and
Mphandlane Shongwe (the three detained on 14 or 15 November 1990), Ray Russon and
Sabelo Dlamini are now being held under 60-day administrative detention orders issued
under the terms of the King's Decree No. 1 (1978). These detention orders enable
the police to hold a person incommunicado, and the period of detention can be renewed
indefinitely at the Prime Minister's discretion. Amnesty International believes that
all five are prisoners of conscience and is calling for them to be released immediately
and unconditionally. In addition, Amnesty International is particularly concerned
that Sabelo Dlamini, who was assaulted by police on the university campus on 14 November
before he fled to the United States embassy, may be at risk of further assaults or
torture. One of the other defendants in the recent Swaziland treason trial was
reportedly assaulted at the time of his arrest and for some time afterwards the police
refused to allow him medical treatment. This serves to increase concern that all
five now detained are at risk of ill-treatment or torture.
Amnesty International has received eye-witness accounts of the police raid on the
campus of the University of Swaziland on 14 November 1990, following student protests
over the expulsion of Sabelo Dlamini from the university for his involvement in the
treason trial. The accounts indicate that the police deliberately used excessive
force against unarmed students and that at least 87 students were subsequently admitted
to hospital for treatment of injuries inflicted by the police with clubs, sjamboks
(whips), sticks, and branches torn from trees on the university campus.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at reports that Ray Russon and Sabelo Dlamini, as well as
Dominic Mngomezulu, Boy Magagulu and Mphandlane Shongwe, are now 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 non-violent political activities and calling for their immediate and
unconditional release.
- expressing concern at reports that on 22 November 1990 Ray Russon and Sabelo
Dlamini were forcibly returned from South Africa to Swaziland in spite of the
fact that administrative detention orders permitting their indefinite
incommunicado detention had been issued by the Swaziland authorities;
- urging the South African authorities to respect international standards relating
to people who seek protection from human rights violations, most essentially the
principle of non-refoulement which, as set out in Article 33 of the 1951
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, states:
"No contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner
whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be
threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a
particular social group or political opinion".
This principle is recognized by the international community as a norm of general
international law binding on all states, irrespective of whether they are party
to the 1951 Convention itself.
- requesting assurances that in future no one in need of such protection will be
expelled to any country where he or she risks being imprisoned as a prisoner of
conscience, or being tortured or executed;
- urging that all who seek protection in South Africa be given a full opportunity
to present their request for protection and have it examined by the appropriate
His Majesty King Mswati III The Right Hon. Obed Dlamini
PO Box 1 Acting Prime Minister
Lobamba, Swaziland Office of the Prime Minister
Telegrams: HM King Mswati, PO Box 395
Swaziland Mbabane, Swaziland
Telegrams: Acting Prime Minister
Dlamini, Mbabane, Swaziland
Faxes: + 268 43943
Mr Zonke Khumalo Mr Sandile Mdziniso
Minister of Justice Commissioner of Police
PO Box 924 c/o Office of the Prime Minister
Mbabane, Swaziland PO Box 395
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Mbabane, Swaziland
Mbabane, Swaziland Telegrams: Police Commissioner,
Telexes: 2017 COMPOL WD Mbabane, Swaziland
Faxes: + 268 42092 Faxes: + 268 44545
South Africa:
Mr G Louw Mr R F Botha
Minister of Home Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs
Department of Home Affairs Department of Foreign Affairs
and Communication Private Bag X152
Private Bag X741 Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Pretoria 0001, South Africa Telegrams: Foreign Minister,
Telegrams: Home Affairs Pretoria, S. Africa
Minister, Pretoria, S. Africa Telexes: 0959 350060 EXTERN TTX SA
Faxes: +27 12 323 1664
- 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 SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 4 January 1991.

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