EXTRA 65/94 - Swaziland: potential prisoners of conscience: Mphandlana Shongwe, Thandeka Nxumalo, Msongelwa Lukhele, Zake Ginindza, Andreas Lukhele, Wiseman Mabuza, Joseph Silindza (all supporters of the People's United Democratic Movement of Swaziland (P
The seven people named above are currently being tried for sedition in the High Court. If convicted, they would face long prison sentences as prisoners of conscience. They were arrested on 15 October at a peaceful demonstration against the government after a workshop organized by the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL). They were charged with sedition and with organizing an unlawful demonstration. Their trial began on 14 November and is due to end on 25 November. Although they do have access to a lawyer, there is concern that they are being tried under legislation which denies them their rights to peaceful assembly and expression of their non-violent political views. There is further concern that Mphandlana Shongwe, Thandeka Nxumalo and Msongelwa Lukhele are under three-year suspended sentences imposed after a similar trial last year.