Annual Report: Swaziland 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Swaziland 2013

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  • In February Maxwell Dlamini, President of the National Union of Students, and Musa Ngubeni, a political activist and former student activist leader, were released after 10 months in remand custody and placed under oppressive bail conditions.
  • On 12 March 43-year-old Lucky Montero was kicked and beaten in the head and body by soldiers at a border checkpoint. He died 12 days later in Mbabane Government Hospital from medical complications arising from his injuries.
  • In August the High Court found Amos Mbedze, a South African national, guilty of murder, in connection with the deaths in a car bomb explosion in 2008 of two men who were in the vehicle and with whom he was alleged to have conspired to undermine the security of the state. He was sentenced to 85 years' imprisonment. The incident, which had occurred near one of the King's palaces, led to the rapid promulgation of the Suppression of Terrorism Act. The murder conviction was not supported by any evidence heard during his trial.

Death penalty

In November, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected David Simelane's appeal against his death sentence imposed in 2011 at the conclusion of his 10-year-long trial for the murder of 34 women. In the same month, Mciniseli Jomo Simelane was sentenced to death by the High Court for murder.

Women's rights

In March, at the UN Universal Periodic Review session, Swaziland accepted to amend “without delay” laws which discriminate against women.

In June the Deeds Registry (Amendment) Bill was passed by parliament. The Bill amended a provision in the original Act which prevented most women married under civil law from legally registering homes in their own name.

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill had still not been tabled in the Senate by the end of the year, although it was passed by the lower house of parliament in October 2011.

In September The Children's Protection and Welfare Act was assented to by the King. The new law increased protection against forced marriage for girls and young women. The organization Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse publicly expressed alarm that a senior adviser to the King on traditional law and custom announced an intention to seek a court review of the Act.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Swaziland in March and November.
  • Amnesty International urges Swaziland to take concrete and immediate measures to guarantee the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, and to amend laws which discriminate against women without delay (AFR 55/001/2012)