Wonder Mkhonza, National Organising Secretary of the banned Swazi political party the People’s United Democratic Movement and Secretary General of the Swaziland Processing Allied Workers Union, was detained on Friday April 12, allegedly for being in po …

Walton Pantland

Wonder Mkhonza

Wonder Mkhonza, National Organising Secretary of the banned Swazi political party the People’s United Democratic Movement and Secretary General of the Swaziland Processing Allied Workers Union, was detained on Friday April 12, allegedly for being in possession of 5000 PUDEMO pamphlets.

The democratic movement in Swaziland was marking the 40th anniversary of the state of emergency and banning of all political
parties in 1973 by King Sobhuza II in 1973 when Mkhonza was detained by police at Lavumisa, a small town near the South African border.

According to PUDEMO, Wander Mkhonza is currently under police detention in Nhlangano in the South of Swaziland after he was transferred from Lavumisa Saturday evening. He is expected to appear for the first time in court in mid-April 2013.

Free Wonder Mkhonza

There is reasonable suspicion that Mkhonza might be tortured whilst detained.
Swaziland ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 2004.Nevertheless, there have been many reports of torture and beatings by Swazi police, security forces and prison officers, including the torture of student leader Maxwell Dlamini and the death of PUDEMO member Sipho Jele, who was detained for having worn a PUDEMO t-shirt and died in prison under mysterious circumstances.

Amnesty International reported in their 2011 Universal Periodic Review hearing on Swaziland, that “severe beatings and suffocation torture” were “persistent forms of ill-treatment” in police custody. And Swaziland’s Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini, has warned that sipakatane – a form of torture where people’s feet are repeatedly beaten with spikes – could be used against protesters.

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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